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The Huntington California Expedition. 

Maidu Myths. 

By Roland B.' Dixon. 


Jk^mevicatt ptiiscuiu of Natural gistorjj^ 

Vol. XVII, Part II, pp. 33-118.- ^^ 
New York, J?ine jo, igo2. 

Zbc ftnickerbocher press, Dew JOotb 


By Roland B. Dixon. 


The Maidu Indians, from whom the myths here recorded 
were obtained, may be said, for the present at least, to con- 
stitute an independent stock, occupying a considerable area 
in the northeastern part of California. On the north the 
Maidu territory seems to have been bounded by a line running 
from Lassen Peak to Honey Lake, and thence south to the 
eastern crest of the Sierras. On the east this crest was prac- 
tically the limit as far as the extreme southern extension of 
the stock, at the heads of the south fork of the American 
River and the Cosumnes. The Washoes about Lake Tahoe 
doubtless forced their way at times a little over the crest, and 
at best this crest-line was more or less debatable ground. On 
the south the stock appears to have extended to the middle 
fork of the Cosumnes, which river forms their southern limit 
all the way to its confluence with the Sacramento. On the 
west the latter river was in general the boundary-line as far 
north as Chico, whence the line ran, it would seem, along Deer 
Creek, back to Lassen Peak. 

The Maidu is spoken in three dialects, which may be desig- 
nated as the northeastern, the northwestern, and the southern. 
The first of these is spoken by that portion of the stock living 
in the chain of broad, flat-floored valleys in the higher Sierra, 
beginning with Big Meadows in the north, and ending with 
Sierra Valley in the south. The second group occupies all the 
western slope of the Sierras and the Sacramento Valley north 
of the Yuba River. The third group comprises all the re- 
mainder, and, roughly speaking, is synonymous with the 
Nishinam of Powers. The various groups came into contact 
with different stocks in varjang degree, and all show the 

[Ma;', igos.'l 33 3 

34 Bulletin American ^fuseuln of N'atural History. [Vol. XVII, 

influence of such contact. The northeastern group came into 
close contact with their northern neighbors the Achoma'wi, 
or Pit River Indians, and with the Piutes who border them 
on the east. The northwestern group were associated with 
the Wintun of the west side of the Sacramento River, and 
with the Yana who occupied the east side of the river, above 
Deer Creek. The southern section of the Maidu stock were in 
contact with the Washoes, with peoples of the so-called ]\Io- 
quelumnan stock, and with the Wintuns. The contact of the 
sections of the stock with different neighbors led to notice- 
able differences in culture, myth, and dialect ; and these 
tendencies toward varying cultures were in many cases re- 
enforced by considerable differences of environment. 

Although there were differences, as just pointed out, the 
customs of the Maidu were, on the whole, of the same general 
type throughout. All were a hunting and fishing people, de- 
pendent in large measure, however, on the acorn and various 
seeds and roots. Originally they went about nearly if not 
quite naked ; only in the winter season and in the mountains 
they wore robes of deer-skin, or mantles woven of rabbit-fur 
cut in long strips. Moccasins seem to have been worn more 
in the mountains than in the Sacramento Valle5^ although in 
the latter region they were used to a considerable extent. No 
covering was worn on the head, as a rule; but it seems that 
the net-cap (wi'ka), used chiefly at dances, was sometimes 
worn as an every-day covering. Their dwellings varied 
somewhat according to locality, the heavy snows and cold 
weather of the mountains requiring a more solid and warmer 
house than the mild winters of the Sacramento Valley. In 
general, however, the houses were alike, and were circular, 
semi-'subterranean lodges from fifteen to twenty-five feet or 
more in diameter, and from ten to fifteen feet high. They 
were made by excavating to a depth of some three feet, and 
lining the sides of the excavation with posts or split logs some 
four or five feet high. These were set on end, and formed 
substantial walls. A solid conical roof was erected over the 
enclosure thus made, the supporting beams resting on several 
posts, and meeting at the centre. A smoke-hole was left in 

\ \\''y 

1902.] DLxoii, Maidii Myths. 

the middle, and a small door cut at one side, this door being 
very low, and forcing the person entering to crawl on all-fours 
in many cases. The roof was thickly covered with earth. 
The resulting house, or sweat-house, as it is generally called 
to-day, was in winter both warm and dry, and in summer, 
owing to the heavy earth covering, delightfully cool. Sum- 
mer shelters and less elaborate huts were built of branches and 
large splinters of fallen trees placed together in conical form. 
Light brush shelters, consisting of a mere roof of brush, and 
open on all sides, were also much used. 

In their social organization the i\Iaidu showed apparently 
a complete lack of any clan organization or totemic grouping. 
They were grouped loosely in village communities which 
seem to have been by no means firmly knit. The villages 
were usually composed of but few houses, each of which was 
the residence of several families related by blood. There are 
known to-day a large number of village sites, all of which 
cannot have been simultaneously inhabited ; and it seems not 
unlikely that the people of a village, after living for some 
years at one spot, moved, or perhaps divided, and, either in 
whole or in part, settled on a site that had been inhabited 
some years or even generations before. If all the known 
village sites had been inhabited at the same time, the popula- 
tion of the region would have been incredibly dense; and I 
believe that the earlier estimates of the population of this arid 
other sections of California were erroneous, owing to the fact 
that it was supposed that all the villages known had at one 
time been simultaneously inhabited. Each village had its 
chief, but his power was comparatively slight. The villages 
were constantly involved in petty quarrels, which were usu- 
ally settled with but little loss of blood. 

The chief ceremonials in the religion of the Maidu were the 
initiatory ceremonies for the boys or young men at or about 
the age of puberty, and the great annual "burning" for the 
dead. The former ceremony appears to have been best de- 
veloped among the northwestern branch of the stock, and 
exists in a much less perfect form among the southern section. 
Boys are initiated at the age of twelve years or thereabouts. 

36 Bulletin American Museum of Natural History. [Vol. XVII, 

Not all boys go through the ceremony, the ones who are to 
undergo it being chosen by the old men every year. After 
initiation, the men were known as " Ye'poni," and were much 
looked up to. They formed a sort of secret society, and in- 
cluded all the men of note in the tribe. The ceremonies were 
more or less elaborate, involving fasts, instruction in the 
myths and lore of the tribe by the older men, and finally a 
great feast and dance, at which the neophytes for the first 
time performed their dances, which were probably received 
through visions. The "burning" in honor of the dead usu- 
ally occurred in October, the exact date depending on the 
moon's phases. It is probable that the dead were burned 
throughout the Maidu area, but many contradictory state- 
ments make it somewhat difficult to settle this matter defi- 
nitely at present. The "burning," already alluded to as one 
of the two great ceremonies of the Maidu, was not that of the 
body of the dead, but of offerings of various sorts,- — a common 
ceremonial for the dead, in which the whole village or several 
villages joined. At the appointed time the people assemble, 
and after various preliminary ceremonies the relatives of all 
those persons who have recently died consign to the flames 
large amounts of property of all sorts, — baskets, clothes, 
food, etc., — accompanying the act with wailing and songs. 
At the first "burning" which occurs after the death of a per- 
so'n, an image representing the deceased, made of skins and 
stuffed, is often burned, together with the gifts. The sacrifice 
of property to the dead is not, as a rule, continued beyond two 
or three years, but in some cases ofterings have been made 
annually for ten or fifteen years. From various accounts it 
would seem that at times the widows attempted to throw 
themselves into the funeral pyres of their husbands, and also 
burned themselves severely at the "burnings." 

The mythology of the Maidu presents many features of in- 
terest. No adequate comparative discussion of the material 
is yet possible, inasmuch as, with the exception of the Wintun 
and Yana, we know practically nothing of the myths of the 
neighboring stocks of California, Oregon, and Nevada. When 
material from tliese regions shall have been collected, we may 

1902.] Dixon, Maidu J\[yths. ^il 

be able to clear up many points now obscure. With few 
exceptions, the myths here presented were told in English, 
and are almost exclusively from the two northern sections of 
the stock. While the time has not yet come for any detailed 
discussion of the points of agreement or disagreement of 
these myths with those of the more remote tribes and stocks 
of the country, several of the more noticeable similarities to 
those of the neighboring stocks may be pointed out. 

The first of the myths here given, describing the creation 
and subsequent events, shows several points of similarity to 
myths of the neighboring stocks of the Wintun, Yana, Pit 
River, and Shasta Indians. In myths of nearly all these 
peoples we find men brought into being from sticks; and in 
all of them the Coyote plays the same part of marplot, op- 
posing himself to the intention to make man's life easy, labor- 
less, and deathless. The Coyote decides that man must 
work, suffer, and die ; and his own son is the first to bear the 
penalty of the decision, which the Coyote, in his grief, in vain 
tries to repeal. Indeed, we find much the same idea among 
the Shoshone tribes to the eastward of the Maidu, for Powell 
records a similar struggle between the two Wolf brothers who 
figure so prominently in the Ute mythology.' The presence 
of the well-known Algonkian incident of the diving for mud 
with which to make the world, is of interest as giving another 
example of its wide distribution. In the story of the Earth- 
Namer we have a number of incidents (lacking in the other 
tale) describing the destruction or metamorphosis of various 
evil beings and monsters by the Earth-Namer, who here ap- 
proaches the type of the Transformer of the Northwest coast. 
This type appears again, although less clearly, in the two 
versions of the Conqueror story, where one of a pair of twins 
of miraculous birth performs great deeds and rids the country 
of the evil beings who destroyed his ancestors. 

In the myths which follow there are many which are similar 
to, and one or two which are identical with, myths of the sur- 
rounding stocks. These similarities are most marked, per- 
haps, in the stories of the Thunder's Daughter, the Loon 

^ J. W. Powell, First Report Bureau of Ethnology, pp. 44, 45. 


8 Bulletin American Museum of Natural History. [Vol. XVII, 

Woman, and the Bear and Deer. In these myths and in 
several of the others we have incidents which are current as 
far north as British Columbia, and offer interesting examples 
of widely distributed myth-incidents. The figure of the 
Coyote is prominent. He seems to be generally inimical to 
mankind, and appears often as a buffoon and trickster, who 
comes out of his adventures in a sorry plight. 

As to analogies or similarities between the myths of the 
Maidu and those of the various stocks to the southward, little 
can be said at present. Virtually nothing is known of the 
mythology of these stocks in the southern part of California. 
In the meagre accounts of the Indians of San Juan Capis- 
trano (Shoshonean) by Boscana we find several rather vague 
similarities to the Conqueror stories of the Maidu. The 
Coyote is a person of importance, and it is at least curious to 
find that he bears here a name (Eno) almost identical with, 
that in use by the Maidu of the western slope of the northern 
Sierra (Heno). As will be apparent from the myths here 
given, there are many evidences of the widespread incor- 
poration of foreign incidents, and even of the adoption of 
whole mj'-ths. As stated before, our knowledge of the myth- 
ology of the surrounding stocks is as yet too slight to enable 
us with profit to make a detailed stud}'' of such incidents, or 
to attempt to trace them to their origin. When such ma- 
terial shall be available, it would seem probable that many 
most interesting examples of the intermingling of northern 
and southern elements will be apparent, and enable us per- 
haps to trace more accurately the lines of migration and the 
mutual relationships of the great mass of stocks scattered 
along the Pacific coast from the Columbia River to Mexico. 

In the references which follow, only the more striking cases 
of similarity are pointed out between the Maidu myths on 
the one hand and those collected by Boas,' Curtin,' Teit,' 

' p. Boas, Indianische Sagen von der Nord-Pacifischen Kuste .^merikas, Berlin, 
>8os (quoted /. c); Traditions of the Tillamook (Journal of American Folk-Lore, Vol. 
XI. pp. 23 and 133); Kathlamet Texts (Bulletin Bureau of American Ethnology, 
Washington, 1901). 

' J. Curtin, Creation Myths of Primitive America. Boston, 180S. 

' J. Teit, Traditions of the Thompson River Indians of British Columbia (Memoirs 
of the American Folk-Lore Society, Vol. VI). 

1902.] Dixon, Ma id II Myt/ts. 39 

Gatschet,' Powers,- Powell/ Kroeber,' Farrand,'' and Burns," 
on the other. 

I. Creation MytJi.- 

In the beginning there was no sun, no moon, no stars. All 
was dark, and everywhere there was only water. A raft 
came floating on the water. It came from the north, and in 
it were two persons, — Turtle (A'nosma) and Father-of-the- 
Secret-Society (Pehe'ipe).^ The stream flowed very rapidly. 
Then from the sky a rope of feathers, called Po'kelma, was let 
down, and down it came Earth-Initiate. When he reached 
the end of the rope, he tied it to the bow of the raft, and 
stepped in. His face was covered and was never seen, but 
his body shone like the sun. He sat down, and for a long 
time said nothing. At last Turtle said, " Where do you come 
from?" and Earth-Initiate answered, "I come from above." 
Then Turtle said, "Brother, can you not make for me some 
good dry land, so that I may sometimes come up out of 
the water?" Then he asked another time, "Are there going 
to be any people in the world?" Earth-Initiate thought 
awhile, then said, "Yes." Turtle asked, "How long before 
you are going to make people?" Earth- Initiate replied, "I 
don't know. You want to have some dry land: well, how am 
I going to get any earth to make it of?" Turtle answered, 
"If 5^ou will tie a rock about my left arm, I'll dive for some." 
Earth-Initiate did as Turtle asked, and then, reaching 
around, took the end of a rope from somewhere, and tied it 
to Turtle. When Earth- Initiate came to the raft, there was 
no rope there: he just reached out and found one. Turtle 
said, "If the rope is not long enough, I'll jerk it once, and 

'■ A. S. Gatschet, The Klamath Indians of South-western Oregon (Contributions to 
North American Ethnology, Vol. II, Part i). 

- S. Powers, Tribes of California (Contributions to North American Ethnology, Vol. 

3 J. W. Powell, Sketch of the Mythology of the North American Indians (First Re- 
port of the Bureau of American Ethnology). 

■* A. L. Kroeber, Ute Tales (Journal of American Folk-Lore,Vol. XIV, pp. 252 et seq.). 

^ L. Farrand, Traditions of the Chilcotin (Memoirs American Museum of Natural 
History, Vol. IV, Part I) ; Traditions of the Quinault Indians (Memoirs American 
Museum of Natural History, Vol. IV, Part III). 

^ L. M. Bums, Digger Indian Tales (Land of Sunshine, Vol. XIV, pp. 130 et seq.). 

^ Told at Chico. Compare Curtin, /. c, pp. 163 et seq.; Powell, /. c, p. 44; Powers, 
/. c, pp. 292 et seq.; Farrand, Quinault, p. in. 

^ The Pehe'ipe is to-day a participant in the dances of the Secret Society, and 
usually plaj'S the part of a clown. 

40 Bulletin American Museum of Natural History. \\o\. XVII, 

you must haul me up; if it is long enough, I'll give two jerks, 
and then you must pull me up quickly, as I shall have all the 
earth that I can carry." Just as Turtle went over the side of 
the boat, Father-of-the-Secret-Society began to shout loudl5^ 

Turtle was gone a long time. He was gone six years; and 
when he came up, he was covered with green slime, he had 
been down so long. When he reached the top of the water, 
the only earth he had was a very little under his nails: the 
rest had all washed aw^ay. Earth-Initiate took with his 
right hand a stone knife from under his left armpit, and care- 
fully scraped the earth out from under Turtle's nails. He 
put the earth in the palm of his hand, and rolled it about till it 
was round ; it was as large as a small pebble. He laid it on the 
stern of the raft. By and by he went to look at it: it had 
not grown at all. The third time that he went to look at it, 
it had grown so that it could be spanned by the arms. The 
fourth time he looked, it was as big as the world, the raft 
was aground, and all around were mountains as far as he 
could see. The raft came ashore at Ta'doiko, and the place 
can be seen to-day.' 

When the raft had come to land, Turtle said, "I can't 
stay in the dark all the time. Can't you make a light, so that 
I can see?" Earth- Initiate replied, "Let us get out of the 
raft, and then we will see what we can do." So all three got 
out. Then Earth- Initiate said, "Look that way, to the 
east! I am going to tell my sister to come up." Then it 
began to grow light, and day began to break; then Father-of- 
the-Secret-Society began to shout loudly, and the sun came 
up. Turtle said, "Which way is the sun going to travel?" 
Earth- Initiate answered, "I'll tell her to go this way, and 
go down there." After the sun went down, Father-of-the- 
Secret-Society began to cry and shout again, and it grew 
very dark. Earth-Initiate said, "I'll tell m}'- brother to 
come up." Then the moon rose. Then Earth-Initiate asked 
Turtle and Father-of-the-Secret-Society, "How do you like 
it?" and they both answered, "It is very good." Then 
Turtle asked, "Is that all you are going to do for us?" and 

• Compare Boas, /. c, p. 173; Powers, /. c, p. 3S3. 

1902.] Dixon^ Maidii Myths. 4^ 

Earth-Initiate answered, " Xo, I am going to do more yet." 
Then he called the stars each by its name, and they came 
out. When this was done. Turtle asked, "Now what shall 
we do?" Earth-Initiate replied, "Wait, and I'll show you." 
Then he made a tree grow at Ta'doiko, — the tree called 
Hu'kimtsa; and Earth- Initiate and Turtle and Father-of- 
the-Secret-Society sat in its shade for two days. The tree 
was very large, and had twelve different kinds of acorns 
growing on it. 

After they had sat for two days under the tree, they all 
went off to see the world that Earth- Initiate had made. 
They started at sunrise, and were back by sunset. Earth- 
Initiate travelled so fast that all they could see was a ball of 
fire flashing about under the ground and the water. While 
they were gone, Coyote (Ola'li) and his dog Rattlesnake 
(Ka'udi or So'la) came up out of the ground. It is said that 
Coyote could see Earth-Initiate's face. When Earth-Ini- 
tiate and the others came back, they found Coyote at Ta'- 
doiko. All five of them then built huts for themselves, and 
lived there at Ta'doiko, but no one could go inside of Earth- 
Initiate's house. Soon after the travellers came back, Earth- 
Initiate called the birds from the air, and made the trees 
and then the animals. He took some mud, and of this made 
first a deer; after that, he made all the other animals. Some- 
times Turtle would say, "That does not look well: can't you 
make it some other way?" 

Some time after this, Earth-Initiate and Coyote were at 
Marysville Buttes (E'stobiisin ya'mani). Earth- Initiate 
said, "I am going to make people." In the middle of the 
afternoon he began, for he had returned to Ta'doiko. He 
took dark red earth, mixed it with water, and made two 
figures, — one a man, and one a woman. He laid the man on 
his right side, and the woman on his left, inside his house. 
Then he lay down himself, flat on his back, with his arms 
stretched out. He lay thus and sweated all the afternoon 
■and night. Early in the morning the woman began to 
tickle him in the side. He kept very still, did not laugh. 
By and by he got up, thrust a piece of pitch- wood into the 

42 Bulletin American Museum of Natural History. [Vol. XVII, 

ground, and fire burst out. The two people were very white. 
Xo one to-day is as white as they were. Their eyes were 
pink, their hair was black, their teeth shone brightly, and 
they were very handsome. It is said that Earth-Initiate 
did not finish the hands of the people, as he did not know 
how it would be best to do it. Coyote saw the people, and 
suggested that they ought to have hands like his. Earth- 
Initiate said, "No, their hands shall be like mine." Then he 
finished them. When Coyote asked why their hands were 
to be like that, Earth-Initiate answered, "So that, if they 
are chased by bears, they can climb trees." This first man 
was called Ku'ksu; and the woman, Morning-Star "Woman 
( La'idamluliim kii'le). 

When Coyote had seen the two people, he asked Earth- 
Initiate how he had made them. When he was told, he 
thought, "That is not difficult. I'll do it myself." He did 
just as Earth-Initiate had told him, but could not help 
laughing, when, early in the morning, the woman poked him 
in the ribs. As a result of his failing to keep still, the people 
were glass-eyed. Earth-Initiate said, "I told you not to 
laugh," but Coyote declared he had not. This was the first 

By and by there came to be a good many people. Earth- 
Initiate had wanted to have everything comfortable and 
easy for people, so that none of them should have to work. 
All fruits were easy to obtain, no one was ever to get sick and 
die. As the people grew numerous, Earth-Initiate did not 
come as often as formerly, he only came to see Ku'ksu in the 
night. One night he said to him, "To-morrow morning you 
must go to the little lake near here. Take all the people with 
you. I'll make you a very old man before you get to the 
lake." So in the morning Ku'ksu collected all the people, 
and went to the lake. By the time he had reached it, he 
was a ver}^ old man. He fell into the lake, and sank down 
out of sight. Pretty soon the ground began to shake, the 
waves overflowed the shore, and there was a great roaring 

* Oampare Curtin, /. c, p. 483. Both the Yana and the Pit River Indians also have 
versions more nearly similar to the one here given. 

1902.] Dixon, Maidti Myths. 43 

under the water, like thunder. By and by Ku'ksu came up 
out of the water, but young again, just Hke a young man. 
Then Earth-Initiate came and spoke to the people, and said, 
"If you do as I tell you, everything will be well. When any 
of you grow old, so old that you cannot walk, come to this 
lake, or get some one to bring you here. You must then go 
down into the water as you have seen Ku'ksii do, and you 
will come out young again." When he had said this, he 
went away. He left in the night, and went up above. 

All this time food had been easy to get, as Earth- Initiate 
had wished. The women set out baskets at night, and in the 
morning they found them full of food, all ready to eat, and 
lukewarin. One day Coyote came along. He asked the 
people how they lived, and they told him that all they had to 
do was to eat and sleep. Coyote replied, "That is no way to 
do: Lean show you something better." Then he told them 
how he and Earth-Initiate had had a discussion before men 
had been made; how Earth-Initiate wanted everything easy, 
and that there should be no sickness or death, but how he had 
thought it would be better to have people work, get sick, and 
die. He said, "We'll have a burning." The people did not 
know what he meant; but Coyote said, "I'll show you. It 
is better to have a burning, for then the widows can be free." 
So he took all the baskets and things that the people had, 
hung them up on poles, made everything all ready. When 
all was prepared. Coyote said, "At this time you must always 
have games." So he fixed the moon during which these 
games were to be played. 

Coyote told them to start the games with a foot-race, and 
every one got ready to run. Ku'ksu did not come, however. 
He sat in his hut alone, and was sad, for he knew what was 
going to occur. Just at this moment Rattlesnake came to 
Ku'ksu, and said, "What shall we do now? Everything is 
spoiled!" Ku'ksu did not answer, so Rattlesnake said, 
"Well, I'll do what I think is best." Then he went out and 
along the course that the racers were to go over, and hid him- 
self, leaving his head just sticking out of a hole. By this time 
all the racers had started, and among them Coyote's son. 

44 Bulletin American Museum of Natural History. [Vol. XVII, 

He was Coyote's only child, and was very quick. He soon 
began to outstrip all the runners, and was in the lead. As 
he passed the spot where Rattlesnake had hidden himself, 
however, Rattlesnake raised his head and bit the boy in the 
ankle. In a minute the boy was dead. 

Coyote was dancing about the home-stake. He was very 
happy, and was shouting at his son and praising him. When 
Rattlesnake bit the boy, and he fell dead, every one laughed 
at Coyote, and said, "Your son has fallen down, and is so 
ashamed that he does not dare to get up." Coyote said, 
"No, that is not it. He is dead." This was the first death. 
The people, however, did not understand, and picked the 
boy up, and brought him to Coyote. Then Coyote began to 
cry, and every one did the same. These were the first tears. 
Then Coyote took his son's body and carried it to the lake of 
which Earth-Initiate had told them, and threw the body in. 
But there was no noise, and nothing happened, and the body 
drifted about for four days on the surface, like a log. On 
the fifth day Coyote took four sacks of beads and brought 
them to Ku'ksu, begging him to restore his son to life. Ku'ksu 
did not answer. For five days Coyote begged, then Ku'ksu 
came out of his house, bringing all his beads and bear-skins, 
and calling to all the people to come and watch him. He 
laid the body on a bear-skin, dressed it, and wrapped it up care- 
fully. Then he dug a grave, put the body into it, and covered 
it up. Then he told the people, " From now on, this is what 
you must do. This is the way you must do till the world 
shall be made over." 

About a year after this, in the spring, all was changed. Up 
to this time everybody spoke the same language. The people 
were having a burning, everything was ready for the next 
day, when in the night everybody suddenly began to speak a 
different language. Each man and his wife, however, spoke 
the same. Earth-Initiate had come in the night to Ku'ksu, 
and had told him about it all, and given him instructions for 
the next day. So, wlien morning came, Ku'ksu called all the 
people together, for he was able to speak all the languages. 
He told them each the names of tlie different animals, etc., 

1902.] Dixon ^ Afaidu Myths. 45 

in their languages, taught them how to cook and to hunt, 
gave them all their laws, and set the time for all their dances 
and festivals. Then he called each tribe by name, and sent 
them off in different directions, telling them where they were 
to live. He sent the warriors to the north, the singers to the 
west, the flute-players to the east, and the dancers to the 
south. So all the people went away, and left Ku'ksu and his 
wife alone at Ta'doiko. By and by his wife went away, 
leaving in the night, and going first to Marysville Buttes. 
Ku'ksu staid a little while longer, and then he also left. He 
too went to the Buttes, went into the spirit house (Ku'kinim 
Kumi), and sat down on the south side. He found Coyote's 
son there, sitting on the north side. The door was on the 
west. Coyote had been trying to find out where Ku'ksu had 
gone, and where his own son had gone, and at last found 
the tracks, and followed them to the spirit house. Here he 
saw Ku'ksu and his son, the latter eating spirit food 
(Ku'kinim pe). Coyote wanted to go in, but Ku'ksu said, 
"No, wait there. You have just what you wanted, it is 
your own fault. Every man will now have all kinds of 
troubles and accidents, will have to work to get his food, 
and will die and be buried. This must go on till the time 
is out, and Earth-Initiate comes again, and everything will 
be made over. You must go home, and tell all the people 
that you have seen your son, that he is not dead." Coyote 
said he would go, but that he was hungry, and wanted some 
of the food. Ku'ksu replied, "You cannot eat that. Only 
ghosts may eat that food." Then Coyote went away and 
told all the people, "I saw my son and Ku'ksu, and he told 
me to kill myself." So he climbed up to the top of a tall tree, 
jumped off, and was killed. Then he went to the spirit 
house, thinking he could now have some of the food; but 
there was no one there, nothing at all, and so he went out, 
and walked away to the west, and was never seen again. 
Ku'ksu and Coyote's son, however, had gone up above. 

46 Bulletin American Museum of Natural History. [Vol. XVII, 

2. The Earth-Namcr (Ko'doyanpe).' 

Coyote and the Earth-Xamer lived on the north fork of the 
Feather River, just below Na'kangkoyo. Coyote had a son. 
Earth-Namer said to Coyote, "I am going away from here. 
I am going off to the east." Coyote replied, "All right. We 
are two chiefs, we are the two greatest chiefs, and therefore 
3''ou must talk to me well before you go." Earth-Namer said, 
"Well, I will talk to you before I go. This world is going to 
be for people. Therearegoingtobepeoplein this world. We 
are the two chiefs. I will talk to you, and you must sit down 
and listen. After me in this world, people will have children. 
When a couple get married, people will take something and 
put it between them if they want a child, and that thing will 
become a person." Coyote shook his head and said, "Kb, 
you are not talking right. I'll tell 3^ou something better. 
The way people must have children is for the woman to have 
a hard time. She must have a hard time to have a child, she 
must suffer." Earth-Namer did not want people to have 
sexual connection with one another; but Coyote said, " When 
two people get married, they must have connection; it must 
be so." Earth-Namer said that girls would live as virgins 
always, but Coyote would not agree. He said, "No, girls, 
if they are not married, must sometimes have children." By 
and by Earth-Namer said, "When people who have died are 
taken to water, laid in, and left there over night, they will 
come to life again next morning." Coyote said, "No, when 
people die, the rest of the people must cry. A widow must cry 
very much; and if a person dies, he must be buried. When 
the}^ are buried, it will be all right, for the other people will 
see nothing of them." So Coyote disputed everything that 
Earth-Namer said. Finally Earth-Namer got angry, gath- 
ered up his things, put them in a sack, and started off. There 
was a trail from the camp to the place where they used to go 
for water. Earth-Namer pulled up two rushes, and stuck 
them into the ground, one on each side of the trail, so as to 
lean over the trail. Till now Coyote's son had never been 

' Told at Genesee, Plumas County. 

1902.] Dixon, Alaidu Mytlis. 47 

allowed to go for water, had never been allowed to leave the 
house. When Earth-Namer had fixed the rushes in this way, 
he went on toward the east. 

Soon Coyote sent his son out to get some water. Before 
he got to the place where the two rushes were, they had be- 
come rattlesnakes, and as he passed, they bit him in the leg 
and killed him. Earth-Namer wanted to have it happen 
this way, for Coyote had wanted people to die. When Coyote 
found that his son was dead, he ran after Earth-Namer, say- 
ing, "Well, we will have it your way, people shall not die." 
When he got nearly up to Earth-Namer, he said, "Look 
back! You are the chief; if you will stop, I will talk better 
than I did before." But Earth-Namer paid no attention to 
him, and kept on his way. So from that time there have 
always been rattlesnakes and people have died. 

There is a place called Tsu'tsuyem. It is on Indian Creek. 
The women who lived there tried to kill people who passed 
by urinating on them. When Earth-Namer came along, he 
went on the opposite side. The women tried to urinate 
across, but could not reach him. He had a cane in his hand, 
and walked along, paying no attention to the women. A 
little beyond there. Mink and his brother were living, and 
Earth-Namer staid with them over night. Near by was a 
great snake that tried to kill everybody. Mink and his 
brother asked Earth-Namer to try and trap the snake. He 
did so, and in the morning went on again. Before he went 
he said, " Go to the trap and see if the snake is dead. If it is, 
take the fat, take it to Tsu'tsuyem, and at night, when all are 
in the sweat-house, crawl up and throw it into the fire." 
When the snake got into the trap, it jumped high in the air; 
but the Minks jumped after it, and cut it in two, taking half 
of it. In the snake was some sort of milky fluid, which fell 
out as they cut it in two. As the Minks looked up, some fell 
on them, and left a white spot under their chins. They took 
the fat, and did as Earth-Namer had told them to. The 
women and people at Tsu'tsuyem were having a great sweat- 
dance; and when the Minks threw in the fat, everything 
began to blaze up, and all the people and the sweat-house 

4^ Bulletin American Museum of Natural History. [Vol. XVII, 

were burned. There is a great hole in the ground there to-day. 
Earth-Namer went on from here farther up the stream, and 
into Big Meadows to O'ngketi. Here he found Crow and his 
brother. They said, "The reason why we never kill any- 
thing is because our knives are dull." Then they asked 
Earth-Xamer to sharpen their knives, which were their bills. 
He did as they asked, and went on up river to where Fish- 
Hawk was fishing. He caught a fish, and held it up, saying, 
"If you come from below, eat this." Then he swallowed it 
himself. When he had done this, Earth-Namer said, "I 
wish you would choke and die;" and he did. 

Earth-Xamer went on, travelled and travelled till he came 
to The-Two-Raft-striking-Boys (Ya'kwektelkom po'betso). 
They had a dog, Ground-Hog. Ground-Hog saw Earth- 
Xamer coming, and began to \^elp. Just as he did so, 
Earth-Namer sank down into the earth, and went along 
underground. When he got within a few feet of Ground-Hog, 
he put up his head, and saw that the animal was still watching 
the place where he had gone down. The two boys got out 
their knives, and said, " These are what we kill people with." 
Then Earth-Namer reached over and killed Ground-Hog. 
He stuck him in his belt, and went on to the camp of the two 
boys. They hid their knives. They had a raft on which 
they took people across the river, and thus they tried to kill 
them. They would bring the raft within a few feet of the 
shore, make the people jump, and then would kill them. 
Earth-Namer asked them if they would take him across the 
river. They agreed, and did as usual, asking him to jump on. 
He did so, but landed in the middle of the raft, and did not 
fall down. The two boys were about to stab him ; but when 
they saw that he did not fall, they waited. 

Earth-Namer said, "Why are you making a motion? Let 
me see your knife." So they gave it to him; and he said, "I 
will point with this knife and show you the country, so that 
you can learn something." So he took the knife, and, while 
making believe point out different things, he cut off their 
heads. The two boys had a sort of oven in which they used 
to bake people when tliey had killed tliem. Eartli-Namer 

1902.] -Dixon, Maidu Myths. 49 

put the bodies into the oven, but first cut off their membrum 
virile. There was an old woman who was living there also. 
She was the grandmother of the two boys. Earth-Namer 
thought that after a while she would miss the boys, and 
would run up to see what the trouble was. So he placed a 
membrum virile on each side of the oven for a trap. Then 
he went on to where the old woman was. He still had 
Ground-Hog under his belt; and when he reached the camp, 
he threw it at the old woman, and told her to eat it. Then 
she knew at once that something had happened to the boys. 
She threw it back at him, and told him to eat it. Earth- 
Namer then lay down, and pretended to go to sleep; but he 
really went on, and left only an appearance of himself in the 
camp. When the old woman thought he was asleep, she 
pulled out her digging-stick and struck at the shade. When 
she found that there was nothing there, she said, "That is 
what I thought, all the time, you would try to do." Then 
she was sure there was something wrong, and she ran down 
to the place where Earth-Namer had set the trap for her. 
When she got there, the trap sprung, flew up and hit her, and 
killed her. 

Earth-Namer went on farther up the valley, to the place 
where his grandmother lived. She was called Old-Grouse- 
Woman (Ho'kwongkulokbe). There he rested awhile. From 
here he went on up through Mountain Meadows to the east. 
In one place he sat down to eat pa'pani (a kind of root). He 
sat facing the east, and he scattered pa'pani all about, and 
people go there still to gather it. His footprints are there yet. 
As he went on to the east, a she Grisly Bear chased him, but 
could not catch him. So she took off her apron, or skirt, and 
whirled it about her head, and thus started fire, with which 
to surround Earth-Namer. He asked the water what it 
could do to help him, and the water answered, "I boil from 
the heat of the fire." He asked the trees, and they replied, 
"We burn in the fire." He asked the rock, and it answered,. 
" I get red-hot in the fire." Then he asked a kind of grass, and 
it answered, "I get black on top, but I don't burn. Be- 
neath I am not burned." So Earth-Namer crawled under it. 

\May, igo2.'\ 4- 

50 Bulletin American Museum of Natural History. [Vol. XVII, 

After the fire had burned over the whole country, Earth- 
Namer came out and went on. On the mountains at that 
place one can see the burned rocks and trees caused by that 
fire. So Earth-Namer went on; and the bear, finding his 
track, kept on following him. Earth-Namer went off to the 
east; and when he got there, he staid there; he is there vet. 

When people first came to this country, they had with 
them an old woman. She knew everj'-fhing, all the past was 
known to her. She told the people to behave themselves and 
be good, for the world was going to change. After a while 
the world began to shake, kept on shaking, kept rising 
higher and higher. As the world shook, the people were 
thrown about. Some were thrown into bushes, some into 
trees. The shaking threw the trees down; they were 
covered up, and are found now buried deep in the ground. 
The shaking of this world made it settle; and as it set- 
tled, it forced the water up through the ground. As a 
result of these things the world was made into its present 
form. This old woman had an acorn-pestle, which she had 
used to pound acorns with; and when the world was shaking, 
she held tight to it. All the time she kept hammering with 
it on the ground, to try to wedge or fasten it down. By and 
by the world began to settle, and people could hear some- 
thing like thunder under the ground. When all was quiet, 
people looked down into the valley, and saw something mov- 
ing. These things were rivers, they were the first rivers. 
After awhile the people went down to look at the valley, and 
found the rivers all muddy. By and by the old woman said, 
"They put me in this world to see all these things for my 
children. I will tell all my people in this world before I go. 
I think there will be death in this world; I think this will be 
a death- world. You people must do the best you can, and 
live through it. A long time ago they told me that people 
would have to live in the middle of the world." The old 
woman knew everything about the past and the future. She 
somehow lived over from the time when there were no people, 
and was the only old woman among the people when they 

1902.] Dixon, Maidu Alyths. 5^ 

were first made. She said, "One of the men here will be a 
shaman (yo'mi). He will hear everything in these moun- 
tains. He will hear all the spirits (ku'kini). Whenever he 
sings, the spirits will talk to you and tell you whether a 
person will live or die. The spirits will teach you everything. 
Whenever they want any one to become a shaman, they will 
tell him. Whatever the spirits say, you must believe, and 
must do as they say, then you will become shamans. In 
that way you people must live here in this world, and do the 
best you can. Live as long as you can. If you die and leave 
children, they must do the same. You people will live a long 
time in this way in this world." 

5. The Conqueror.'' 

There were two old men who were brothers. Their names 
were Wa'pamdakpam and Kiu'madessim. They lived at 
Tsu'pionon in a large sweat-house. They had many children 
who lived with them. The people used to go from here to the 
southwest to hunt geese, and killed many. They had a place 
where they stopped to cook and eat before they went home. 
The two old men went with them to the hunt. They told the 
people always, " Hurry up and cook your food, and eat it and 
go home. Something may come after us." Bald-Eagle (Mo'- 
loko?), who lived far up in the sky, would come and kill the peo- 
ple. Just below the sweat-house was a bluff, and now and then 
people would hear Ground-Squirrel there barking. When they 
heard him, some would go to try to kill him ; and if they went, 
they never came back again. AVhen they went down to the 
bluff and shot the squirrel, they would see the squirrel drop, 
and would go to pick him up. When they got to the place, they 
would find nothing; and when they began to come back, they 
would be surrounded by rattlesnakes, and would be killed by 
them. There was another sweat-house near by, just below 
the one where the two old men and their people lived. This 
belonged to Wood-Bug. He would get up a sweat-dance 
sometimes, and many of his people would come to it. The 

' Told at Genesee, Plumas County. Compare pp. S9 et seq; also Powers, /. c, pp. 
294 et seq. 

52 Bulletin American Museum of Natural History. [Vol. XVII, 

people at Tsu'pionon would hear the noise, and would say, 
" Let us go and see what they are doing down there. Let us 
go and have a dance." Then two or three would go. When 
they got there, "Wood-Bug would say, "Come in." Then 
they would begin to dance, would dance all about the sweat- 
house. The people there would knock against the visitors 
as they danced, knock them about, and kill them. There was 
another place off to the east where an old woman lived. She 
was called Man-straightening-Old- Woman (Ma'idlikapitkun 
kiilo'kbS). People from Tsu'pionon, in hunting or walking 
about, would sometimes come to her house. They would 
talk to her; and she would look at them and say, "What a 
fine-looking man you are! only you are not straight. If 
your back were straight, you would look better. Your 
mother ought to have straightened you when you were bom." 
She had something in her hand, which she said she used to 
straighten people. She would say, "Let me take this and 
straighten you out, — straighten your arms, legs, and body, — 
and then when I get you done, you will be a straight man." 
She had a sort of couch or bed of stone which she had ready 
for this purpose. She would get the man to lie on this on his 
face, and then she would rub him with what she had in her 
hand. Back of her, however, she kept a great stone pestle; 
and while she was rubbing the man, she would reach around 
with one hand and take this pestle, hit him in the small of 
the back with it, and kill him. Sometimes people would see, 
when they went north from the sweat-house, an elk's track. 
They would follow it, two or three of them, follow it and fol- 
low it, and would die before they got to the elk. 

One day many people went goose-hunting. They stopped 
to cook and eat. The old men advised them to hurry, but 
before they could get away, they heard something far up 
in the sk}'': it was Bald-Eagle coming. They could hear 
the whirr of his wings as he swooped down on them. As 
he came. Eagle sang, "Ye from Tsu'pionon, though ye 
wish to hit me, ye cannot" (" Bo'yenkatitmak bo'men mam 
tsu'pionona"). When Eagle was about halfway down, 
some one threw a stone at him with a sling; but as he came 

1902.] Dixon, Maidii Myths. 

down, he came zigzagging from side to side, and the man 
missed him. Every one tried to, hit Eagle, but missed him. 
Then the two old men tried. Wa'pamdakpam threw, and 
just grazed Eagle, knocking off a few feathers. Then Kiu'ma- 
dessim threw, and did the same. By this time Eagle had 
gotten nearly down; and when he reached the ground, he 
killed all the people except the two old men. They had 
knocked off some of his feathers, and he could not kill them. 
So the two old men came home alone, and all their people 
were gone except a few that had staid at home. 

After this, all the people left Tsu'pionon, and went to the 
southwest, to Hela'iono, to gamble. They travelled on and 
on, and came to a river, where all sat down to rest. They 
were going to swim the river, and looked across and saw 
women on the other side, pounding acorns, making soup, and 
cooking bread. In the middle of the river was a plant that 
stuck up out of the water. When people came to this river, 
they chose the best swimmer, who had to swim across above 
the plant. If he did not get across, he died. This was a way 
there was at that time of gambling for people. All the people 
from Tsu'pionon started and swam across. The two old men 
and most of the others got safely across, but some were 
drowned. There was a sweat-house on the other side. All 
the people went to it. The entrance, which sloped down 
steeply, and the whole floor, were of smooth ice. People 
would slip on this floor, fall, and slide about till the}^ got 
killed. Many of the people slipped, fell, and were killed; 
but the two old men and a few others were left. By and by 
the people who lived at this place brought in a big basket of 
soup. If a person could drink it all up, he got off safely; if 
he could not do this, he died. All the people except the two 
old men were killed in this way; and they, when they es- 
caped, came back to Tsu'pionon. 

The two old men had one daughter, who had not gone with 
the people when they went to Hela'iono. She had staid at 
home, and was the only one left, besides the two old men. 
When they told her about losing all their people, she began to 
cry, and went out to gather clover. All the time she was 

54 Bulletin American Museum of Xatural History. [Vol. XVII, 

gathering it, she was crying. Every day she went out this 
way to gather clover, and every day she cried all the while. 
One day a man came to meet her as she was picking clover in 
the valley. He said, "What are you crying about? You 
must stop. If you will marry me, I will give you two chil- 
dren. I think we are married anyhow, so it is all right. I 
live far up in the sky. I am Cloud-]Man." He talked to her 
for a while, and gave her two bunches of black feathers. He 
said, "These will be children. One will be Always-eating 
(Pe'msauto) ; the other will be Conqueror or Winner (O'nkoito). 
Put these things away where the two old men will not see 
them. No matter how much food you cook, or what kind, or 
where ^^ou set it down. Always-eating will eat it. He will eat 
for both boys." He gave her two scratching-sticks for the 
boys to use, and said, "When you start these two boys out, 
they will travel all over the world, find all the monsters that 
kill people, and will destroy them. They will overcome 
everybody." She took the two bunches of feathers, and put 
them away safely in a basket in the house. She kept cooking 
food for the two boys, kept busy all the time, and every day 
all that she cooked disappeared. By and by the two old 
men suspected something. One said, "What is the trouble? 
There must be something the matter. Our daughter is 
always cooking food, but it goes, it is not there next day." 
They began to look about the house, and saw one of the two 
scratching-sticks sticking in a crack of the wall. They 
thought it belonged to one of their people that they had lost, 
and said, " Let us throw this into the fire and burn it up. It 
must be one of the scratching-sticks of our children who were 
lost." So one took it and threw it into the fire. The stick 
began to burn, it popped and snapped, and a great many 
sparks flew out. As soon as this happened, the two boys 
jumped out of the basket in which they had been, and ran out 
of the house. When the two old men saw the boys run out, 
they looked at the stick, and saw that it was still unburned: 
so they seized it, and took it out of the fire. As soon as the 
boys went outside, they grew to be men. The two old men 
said to each other, "Where did these two boys come from? 

1 90 2.] Dixon., Maidu Myths. 55 

We never saw them before. How could they be here and we 
not see them?" The mother was off poundmg acorns, but 
she saw the boys run out, and came hurrying up to see what 
was the trouble. She said to the two old men, "Can't you 
be sensible? When you see something in the house which 
you don't understand, why don't you let it alone ? " Then she 
took a stick and hit the old men, and knocked them down. 

Soon after the two boys came out, the Squirrel at the bluff 
began to bark, crying "Tl'tsuk, tl'tsiik, ti'tsiik!" and trying 
to call them. Conqueror went into the house, and restored 
his grandfathers to life. Then he said, "Give me your bow 
and arrows. I want to go and kill that Squirrel." The old 
men said, "No, that is a bad place. That is where all our 
children were killed, where so many of our people were killed. 
Let Squirrel alone, let him bark." Conqueror said, "Hurry 
up! Give me the bow and arrows: I want to try, anyhow." 
After a while the old men gave him the bow and arrows. 
Conqueror stood right in the doorway, did not go near Squir- 
rel, but shot and killed him from the door. Then he put on 
his stone shoes, and went to where Squirrel was. All about 
he could see the bones of those that had been killed there. 
Then the rattlesnakes began to come out, surrounded him, 
and began to strike at him ; but he stamped on them with his 
stone shoes, and killed them all. Then he pulled up the 
rocks, and pulled out all the snakes that were under them, 
stamped on them, and killed them. Then he said, "You 
shall be rattlesnakes. You nmst not kill everybody any 
more. You shall live as rattlesnakes." Then he took 
Squirrel and carried him back to camp, and threw him down 
where the two grandfathers were. As soon as they saw him, 
they jumped up and began to sing and shout and dance, they 
were so glad to have Sc^uirrel and the snakes killed. They 
said, "You were the one who killed all my people." Then 
they took him and tore him to pieces, and stamped on him 
and danced on him, ground him up till there was nothing left 
of him. When night came. Conqueror was standing outside, 
and heard a sound as of people dancing. It was the Wood- 
Bug people, who were dancing at their camp. Conqueror 

56 Bulletin American Miiseitm of Natural History. [Vol. XVII, 

put on his shirt of red-hot rock, and went to the place whence 
the sound came. He went into the house and began to 
dance with them. They tried to do as they had always done 
before, and knocked him about; but Conqueror did the same, 
and knocked them about, knocked against people, knocked 
them this way and that, burned them with his red-hot stone 
shirt, and killed them all. Then he said, "You shall say 
that you are only wood-bugs. You will be wood-bugs; you 
cannot harm people any more." 

The next morning he went to the place where Man-straight- 
ening-Old- Woman lived. She saw him, and talked to him 
as she always did to people she wanted to kill. She asked 
him to let her straighten him, and he agreed. Conqueror lay 
down on the stone, and the old woman began to rub him. 
She reached back for her big stone, and struck at him with it; 
but Conqueror dodged, and she missed. She hit the rock on 
which people were laid out, and broke her pounding-rock in 
this wa}^ and a piece flew ofif and killed her. Then Con- 
queror went away and said, "You will never kill any more 
people. You will be nothing after this." When he got 
home, he went north, and saw an elk-track. It was fresh. 
Elk had passed but a short time before, and so he followed 
it. He travelled and travelled all round the world after Elk. 
Then Elk made a straight cut across the middle of the world, 
and Conqueror nearly caught up with him. He thought he 
had him surely, but all at once he lost the trail. He looked 
for it, kept looking for it everywhere, kept hunting, searched 
all around, but could not find it. After a while he heard a 
little bird call to him from above, saying, "Look up here, 
look up here!" Elk had jumped up, meaning to jump over 
the sky and get away; but just as he was going over, Cloud- 
Man stopped him. So Conqueror saw Elk's legs hanging 
down where his father, Cloud-Man, had stopped him. Cloud- 
Man was always watching his son from above. Cloud-Man 
killed Elk; and Conqueror said, "Whenever people find you, 
they will kill you for meat. You will be an elk." 

From here he turned round and came back to the place 
where his mother and errandfathers lived. He travelled and 

1902.] Dixon^ Maidu Myths. 57 

travelled, and finally reached it. He said that night, " Grand- 
father, I want some meat in the morning. I want to kill 
geese and ducks. Do you know where I can find them?" 
When morning came, Conqueror and his brother and the two 
old men started out and went west. They killed many ducks 
and geese, and went to the place where they used formerly 
to eat something before they came home. They built a fire, 
cooked the geese, and began to eat. Then they heard, far up 
in the sky, Bald-Eagle coming. They watched, and pretty 
soon they saw him. Conqueror said, "You two old men 
throw first. I want to see how you used to do when you 
saved yourselves." So one of the old men threw, and just 
knocked off a feather. He said, "That is what I do to save 
myself." Then the other old man did the same, and 
said, " That is what I do to save myself." Then Always- 
eating threw. He hit Eagle, took off some feathers, and 
some skin too, did better than the two old men. Eagle was 
singing, as he always did, "Ye from Tsii'pionon, though ye 
wish to hit me, ye cannot! " Then Conqueror threw, and hit 
Eagle, destroyed him all but the wings, that fell down. 
All the rest was knocked to pieces. Then Conqueror said, 
"After this you will be a bird. You will live up in the 
Heaven- Valley. People will never see you any more." 
Then they went back home, and found Conqueror's mother 
cooking, for Always-eating ate a great deal. 

Conqueror said to his grandfathers, "Did you ever go any- 
where to gamble? If you did, let us go and gamble." They 
said, "We used to gamble at Hela'iono. That is where we 
lost all our people." Next morning they started. They 
travelled and travelled, and finally reached the river. The 
old men said, "We used to start from here, swim by that 
plant, and managed to get out. That is the way we got 
along." Conqueror said, " Let us try it, one at a time. You 
go first, for I want to see how you do it." So they swam one 
after the other. Nobody ever could swim up to the plant, 
they were carried down below it; but Always-eating swam 
close to it, beat every one that had tried before. Then 
Conqueror went, and swam up to the plant, pulled it up, and 

58 Bulletin American Museum of Natural History. [Vol. XVII, 

carried it with him to the other side. At this time the people 
began to carry the soup into the sweat-house to have it ready 
for the visitors. Conqueror sent the two old men in first. 
They had canes in their hands, but sHpped, floundered about 
nevertheless, 3'et did not fall. Conqueror went in, wore his 
stone shoes, crushed the floor as he stepped on it, broke it all 
to pieces, kicked it all up, kicked it outside. He said, "Why 
do you have an ice floor in the house where people live?" 
Always-eating sat down by the soup, drank and drank and 
drank, till he drank it all up. Then he took the basket and 
threw it outside. Then they began to gamble. The two old 
men were to begin. The other side won, and came over, and 
took an eye from each of the old men. This was the way 
people used to do. They played again, and the two old men 
won their eyes back. Then the people filled the basket up 
again with soup, and gave it to the old men and the others. 
Always-eating had a piece of flint with which he cut a hole 
in the bottom of the basket and let the soup run out, so that it 
looked as if he were eating it all. When the women outside 
found that the soup had been finished a second time, they 
began to cry. After a while Conqueror moved up, and 
entered the game. The person with whom he was gambling 
had a path through his body, and could pass the gambling- 
bones through this from one hand to the other. Conqueror 
stopped up this passage in his adversary's body without his 
knowing it, and opened one in his own body. Now he began 
to win. While he was playing. Conqueror sang the song 
that North- Wind sings, and in this way called North-Wind 
to him. Conqueror was going to freeze up everything. Con- 
queror kept on winning, beat them all, killed most of the 
people who were playing against him. Then North- Wind 
came and froze up everything. Conqueror had killed all the 
people except two women. By and by these started in to 
gamble, as there was no one else left. They kept on playing; 
and when they were almost beaten, they jumped up and 
went over to their opponents' side. They did this, as they 
thought they might save their lives by marrying Conqueror 
and Always-eating; but it was not so, and they were killed. 

1902.] Dixon, Mai (III Myths. 59 

As Conqueror and his brother and the two old men were leav- 
ing to go home, Conqueror said, " People will talk about this, 
and tell of how we gambled here." Then they started. They 
travelled and travelled, finally reached home. They lived 
there always. 

4. Ku'tsem y'd'poui.' 

An old woman and an old man were living alone by them- 
selves. The old woman put a bead in a basket and set it 
away in the house. She told the old man not to build a fire, 
and then went off to bake some acorn-bread by the creek. 
While she was away the old man forgot, and built a fire. The 
earth began to shake, and he ran out of the house. When he 
looked back, he saw a boy standing by the fire. His name 
was Ku'tsem ye'poni. By and by the boy grew to be a young 
man. He was always playing with toy bows and arrows. 
One day he told his grandmother that he wanted a bow and 
arrows such as the men carried. So to please him his grand- 
mother made him one. This boy had two eyes behind, under 
his shoulder-blades. One day he saw what he thought was 
a gopher with its head sticking up out of the ground. He 
told his grandmother that he wanted a spear to kill the 
gopher with. She said, "You will always be in trouble as 
long as you are here." He took the spear that she gave him, 
and jabbed it into the gopher; but it turned out not to be a 
gopher at all, but a bear; nevertheless he killed it. 

He told his grandmother that she could have all the food 
she wanted. "I'll kill plenty," he said. Then he heard the 
sound of a dance going on far away to the southward, and he 
wanted to go and see what it was. He said to his grand- 
mother, "There must be some one living there. I hear dan- 
cing. I want to go and see it." She answered, " It will only 
make trouble for you if you do." But he went. He went 
toward the place whence he heard the sound of the dancing, 
and, going into the dance-house, he found it full of poisonous 
insects, that were making all the noise. They began to jump 
on him till he was covered with them, like meat with flies, 

' Told at Chico. Compare pp. 51 et seq. I am unable to give any meaning for this 

6o Bulletin American Museum of Natural History. [Vol. XVII, 

and they tried to overpower him. He would scrape them off 
his arms and legs, roll them into a ball, throw them into the 
lire, and burn them up. Some of them escaped, however, and 
those that we have to-day are descended from them. 

When he came home, he told his grandmother all about it. 
While he was inside telling her, a lot of woodpeckers were out- 
side sitting on a dry limb and making a great noise. He told 
his grandmother that he wanted to go and shoot them. She 
said, " If you miss one, you will surely die " ; but he went out 
and shot them while they were all in a row, and killed them 
all. When he took them to his grandmother, she burned 
them, as she did everything that he brought her. Then 
Great-Deer came along dressed as for a dance. He had 
feathers on his antlers, and his eyes shone like the morning 
star. He was called Lift-up, Chasing-up, and Running-Deer ' 
(Wi'sdom-slimi and Hei'nom-siimi and Yo'dom-sumi). He 
came from the north. The young man told his grand- 
mother that he had seen a deer and wanted to go and kill it. 
She begged him not to do so. But he went. He shot and hit 
it. He had two arrows winged with yellow-hammer featliers. 
He shot one and kept the other. The deer ran north, and the 
young man ran after it on foot. For a long time he followed, 
but finally the deer gave out. All the time that the young man 
was chasing the deer, he never saw it: he knew which way 
the deer had gone by means of his arrow. When he slept at 
night, he would stick the second arrow, with the yellow- 
hammer feathers, into the ground beside him, and this arrow 
and the one in the deer called to each other just as yellow- 
hammers do. When it was dark, the young man heard 
something (spirits) singing far up in the sky; they were sing- 
ing to help him. Finally the deer came to the end of its run- 
ning, and the young man had to scout for it. He saw where 
it had slipped on a rock; but then he lost the trail, and could 
find no further tracks. After looking around for a long time 
in vain, he picked up a handful of dust, and asked it if it knew 
which way the deer had gone. The dust answered, "You 
need not ask me: I'm not a god's son! You are, and you 


1902.] Dixon, Maidu Myths. 6 1 

ought to know. Look up, you will see its hind-legs sticking 
down from the sky." The young man did so, and there the 
legs were as plain as could be. He knew where the deer was 
now, but he did not know how to get up to it. By and by he 
called the clouds, and they came and made a rainbow for him, 
and he went up on that. When he reached the top, he cut 
the throat of the deer, and threw the body down to the earth 
below, but he took off all the deer's feathers first, and cut off 
its head, and carried these down himself. 

The food that the young man lived on was a sort of berry 
called moi'moimo : it was like a gooseberry. On the road he 
met a man who was hunting. He asked the man where he 
came from, and he answered, "Ta'doiko." Then he asked 
him what he was doing in this country, and the stranger 
answered, " I am hunting." The stranger was a good-looking 
fellow, and at first the young man did not know who he was. 
The stranger asked if he had anything to eat, as he was very 
hungry, since he had not been able to kill anything. The 
young man said that he had, and gave the stranger some of 
the berries. He ate them, two handfuls, and they were so 
good that he thought that he would like some more. So he 
transformed himself, ran ahead, and in the guise of an old 
man met the young man a second time. He told the same 
story as before, and as before got two handfuls of berries. 
He ate these, and tried the same trick again; this time meet- 
ing the young man in the form of an old woman, who said she 
was looking for the old man, who was her husband. Again 
the young man gave the berries. Hurriedly eating these, the 
stranger went on again, and for the fourth time met the 
young man, this time as a beautiful girl, who was looking for 
her father and mother. The young man gave her two hand- 
fuls of berries, but began to wonder why he met so many 
hungry people. He made up his mind to play a trick on the 
next person he met. He took some of the berries, mashed 
them, and made a ball of them. Then he went to a yellow- 
jacket's nest, and put some of them into the ball of berries. 
Soon he met the stranger again, this time as a young man. 
He told the same story, and, the berries being handed to him, 

62 Bulletin American Museum of Natural History. [Vol. XVII, 

he at once began to eat them. Soon the wasps began to 
sting him inside, and he began to scream and kick.' The 
young man then went back, and found that it was Coyote who 
had been asking him for the berries all the time. He never 
said a word, but went away and left him lying there. 

When he reached his home, he went to his grandmother 
and told her all that he had done. There was an old man 
who lived with his grandmother: he was called Raccoon 
(Hu'mili). The young man said to him, "Let's go and have 
some fun! Let's go where there are some people living!" 
Raccoon said, "I don't know where we can go unless we go 
north, but I don't think you can stand it to go there." The 
young man said, "Why can't I stand it?" Then Raccoon 
said, "There are too many dangers on the way, and at the 
place where we are going"; but the young man persuaded 
him, and they agreed to go. They took four sacks of beads, 
as they were going to gamble. 

They went a long wa3^ and came to a river. Said Raccoon, 
"Sometimes I get no farther than here." The young man 
said, "You swim across first, and I'll follow you." So the 
old man did so. When he was about halfway or more across, 
he looked back, and saw his grandson near the middle of the 
river. He could not tell what the young man was trying to 
do. The latter dived, went along under the water, and came 
to Marysville Buttes. He went there to get some gambling- 
medicine. The grandfather swam on across the river, got 
out, and stood looking for his grandson. He began to worry. 
He waited till he was tired; then he made a large fire and 
jumped into it, and was all burned up but one foot. When 
the young man got back from his excursion to the Buttes, he 
saw no one anywhere about. He called for his grandfather, 
but there was no answer. He looked for tracks, and came 
upon the pile of ashes: here he saw traces of the old man. 
Then he saw the foot. He said to himself, "The old man 
thought I was dead, so he burned himself up." Then he took 
his own right foot, put it on the old man's foot, and said, 

' See F. Boas, Traditions of the Tillamook Indians (Journal of American Folk- 
Lorc, Vol. XI, p. 141). 

go2.] Di'xo/i, Maidu Myths. 6 


' ' Get up ! " and up jumped the old man. He said as he rubbed 
his eyes, "I was just taking a nap. I must have overslept." 
Then the two went on, as before, toward the north. 

They came to the place where they were to gamble. They 
were to gamble with Old-North- Wind, Bo'dawinkano. The 
young man said to his grandfather just before they arrived at 
the village, " AVhen you go into the house, walk slowly." The 
old man said, " I am older than you; I guess I know what to 
do. I have been here often. I can walk right in." They went 
up to the door. The young man went ahead. His toe-nails 
were like eagles' claws. The floor slanted down from the door- 
sill, and on the floor were the hides of blue-snakes: they were 
very slippery. When he got inside, he called to the old man 
to come in, but to be very careful. The old man came in in a 
hurry, slipped, fell, came rolling and sliding head-first into the 
room; and, hitting a drum that stood at the east side of the 
fire, he dashed out his brains. The young man, however, paid 
no attention to him. 

Old- North- Wind set out soup for the young man to eat. 
He ate all that he wanted, and then said, " Here are four sacks 
of beads. I have come to gamble with you." Old-North- 
Wind answered, "We don't play for beads here, we play for 
eyes and hearts only." The young man did not know 
whether he would play that way or not, but finally said he 
would. They began. The first time, the young man lost his 
grandfather's eyes and heart. When he found that he was 
getting beaten, he told Old-North- Wind that he had to go out 
to relieve himself, he had eaten so much soup. When he got 
outside, he picked up a handful of dust and poured it on a 
rock. Then he asked it why he couldn't win. The dust 
answered, "I am not a god's son. You are, and you ought to 
know." The young man could not get any answer from the 
dust, but the latter finally told him to ask the Sun. He did so. 
The Sun said, "I'll tell you what is the trouble, Old-North- 
Wind has a hole under his armpits, from one side of his body 
to the other. Through this hole he can pass the bones when 
he gambles: in this way he cheats you. When you go in 
again, call for a fog: I will then shine so hard that the fog will 

64 Bulletin American Museum of Natural History. [Vol. XVII, 

be like glass under his arms, and then the bones will not go 
through. They will bounce off, and then you can catch him. " 
The young man entered the house again. He had already lost 
one of his eyes. He did, however, as the Sun had advised; and 
when Old-North- Wind tried to shift the bones, he caught him. 
From that moment he began to win back all that he had lost. 
He won the eyes and heart of his grandfather, and his grand- 
father at once jumped up and began to help him. He won 
back his own eye. The old man and his grandson both 
played, and beat every one there. They won all their eyes 
and hearts. Old-North-Wind wanted to stop after he had lost 
one eye. So they did. 

Soon it began to cloud up and rain, and the grandfather and 
the youth started for home, and carried all the eyes and hearts 
with them. When they got back, the grandmother said, "I 
knew you had won as soon as I saw it rain." He staid at 
home for ten days. Then he heard a noise off to the south, at 
Wo'noma. The old woman that lived there made the noise. 
The young man asked his grandmother, "Where is that war? 
I hear some one giving a war-whoop." She replied, "That is 
only for you, you are not done with yet." He said, "I am 
going to see what the noise is, anyway." He took his bow 
and arrows and went. When he got there, he found an old 
woman sitting on a rock. He asked her where the war was. 
He put his foot on the rock near by, which was on the north 
side of the knoll, and his footprint is there to this day. The 
old woman said to him, "I am your great-grandmother, and 
was just wishing to see you. You are a fine big 3'oung man. 
Lie down on this rock and let me straighten the bones of your 
back." He did so, and she rubbed his back with one hand, 
while with the other she drew towards her a huge rock with 
which she meant to strike him. She raised it to strike; but 
with the eyes in his back he saw what she was going to do, and 
dodged the blow, so that she struck the rock instead. She 
began to abuse him. "You are the first one I ever missed. 
There are all your brothers over there." Then the young 
man said to her, " Do you lie down, and let me straighten your 
back." She did not want to, but did not dare to refuse. He 

1902.] Dixon, Maidu Myths. 65 

rubbed her back, and then struck her with the great stone and 
cut her in two. He took her heart and brought it home. His 
grandmother said to him, "You are the only grandson I have 
had who could do all these things without getting hurt." The 
young man staid at home another ten days. Then his grand- 
mother and grandfather fell ill, and both died the same day. 
The young man buried them, and then he went away, and no 
one knows where he went. 

5. The Search for Fire.^ 

At one time the people had found fire, and were going to 
use it; but Thunder (Wo'tomtomim maidum) wanted to take 
it away from them, as he desired to be the only one who 
should have fire. He thought that if he could do this, he 
would be able to kill all the people. After a time he succeeded, 
and carried the fire home with him, far to the south. He put 
AVo'swosim (a small bird) to guard the fire, and see that no 
one should steal it. Thunder thought that people would die 
after he had stolen their fire, for they would not be able to 
cook their food; but the people managed to get along. They 
ate most of their food raw, and sometimes got To'yeskom (an- 
other small bird) to look for a long time at a piece of meat; 
and as he had a red eye, this after a long time would cook the 
meat almost as well as a fire. Only the chiefs had their food 
cooked in this way. All the people lived together in a big 
sweat-house. The house was as big as a mountain. Among 
the people was Lizard (Pi'tsaka) and his brother; and they 
were always the first in the morning to go outside and sun 
themselves on the roof of the sweat-house. One morning as 
they lay there sunning themselves, they looked west, toward 
the Coast Range, and saw smoke. They called to all the 
other people, saying that they had seen smoke far away to 
the west. The people, however, would not believe them; and 
Coyote came out, and threw a lot of dirt and dust over the 
tw^o. One of the other people did not like this. He said to 
Coyote, "Why do you trouble people? Why don't you let 

' Told at Genesee. Compare Curtin, /. c, p. 365 ; Kroeber, /. c, p. 252. 

66 Bulletin American Museum of Natural History. [Vol. XV II, 

others alone? Why don't you behave? You are always the 
first to start a quarrel. You always want to kill people with- 
out any reason." Then the other people felt sorry. They 
asked the two Lizards about what they had seen, and asked 
them to point out the smoke. The Lizards did so, and all 
could see the thin column rising up far to the w^est. One per- 
son said, "How shall we get that fire back? How shall we 
get it away from Thunder? He is a bad man. I don't know 
whether we had better try to get it or not." Then the chief 
said, "The best one among you had better try to get it. 
Even if Thunder is a bad man, we must try to get the fire. 
When we get there, I don't know how we shall get in; 
but the one who is the best, w^ho thinks he can get in, let him 
try." Mouse, Deer, Dog, and Coyote were the ones who were 
to try, but all the other people went too. They took a flute 
with them, for the}^ meant to put the fire in it. 

They travelled a long time, and finally reached the place 
where the fire was. They were within a little distance of 
Thunder's house, when they all stopped to see what they 
would do. Wo'swosim, who was supposed to guard the fire 
in the house, began to sing, " I am the man w^io never sleeps. 
I am the man who never sleeps." Thunder had paid him for 
his w^ork in beads, and he wore them about his neck and 
around his waist. He sat on the top of the sweat-house, by 
the smoke-hole. After a while Mouse was sent up to try 
and see if he could get in. He crept up slowly till he got close 
to Wo'swosim, and then saw that his eyes were shut. He was 
asleep, in spite of the song that he sang. When Mouse saw 
that the watcher was asleep, he crawled to the opening and 
went in. Thunder had several daughters, and they were 
lying there asleep. Mouse stole up quietly, and untied the 
waist-string of each one's apron, so that should the alarm be 
given, and they jump up, these aprons or skirts would fall ofH", 
and they would have to stop to fix them. This done, Mouse 
took the flute, filled it wath fire, then crept out, and rejoined 
the other people who were waiting outside. Some of the fire 
was taken out and put in Dog's ear, the remainder in the flute 
being given to the swiftest runner to carry. Deer, however, 

1902.] Dixon, j\[aidu Myths. 67 

took a little, which he carried on the hock of his leg, where to- 
day there is a reddish spot. For a while all went well, but 
when they were about halfwa}" back, Thunder woke up, sus- 
pected that something was wrong, and asked, "What is the 
matter with my fire?" Then he jumped up with a roar of 
thunder, and his daughters were thus awakened, and also 
jumped up; but their aprons fell ofif as they did so, and they 
had to sit down again to put them on. After they were all 
ready, they went out with Thunder to give chase. They 
carried with them a heavy wind and a great rain and a hail- 
storm, so that they might put out any fire the people had. 
Thunder and his daughters hurried along, and soon caught 
up with the fugitives, and were about to catch them, when 
Skunk shot at Thunder and killed him. Then Skunk called 
out, "After this you must never try to follow and kill people. 
You must stay up in the sky, and be the thunder. That is 
what you will be." The daughters of Thunder did not follow 
any farther; so the people went on safely, and got home with 
their fire, and people have had it ever since. 

6. Thunder and his Daughter.^ 

Thunder (Wo'tomtomiwaisi'm) had a daughter (Wotom- 
tomim mopom). She was very beautiful, and went about 
luring young men to destruction by inducing them to follow 
her. She lived far to the east. Two brothers were living in 
the middle of a valley. The two were sitting on the top of 
the house, singing. The older of the two was Pitmi'lussi, and 
he had arrows. Thunder's daughter came along, and Pit- 
mi'lussi, seeing her, said, "I am going to follow her." The 
mother and father of the two brothers were inside, and, hear- 
ing what he had said, called out, "No, she is not good. Let 
her go." But Pitmi'lussi replied, " She looks like a beautiful 
girl; I am going to follow her." The parents tried to dis- 
suade him, but failed, and he set out. He took one of his 
arrows, and shot it so that it fell ahead of the girl, and stuck 
in the ground. She had a pack-basket filled with ice on her 

1 Told at Genesee. Compare Curtin, /. c, pp. 143 et seq.; Teit, /. c, pp. 39 et 
seq.; Burns, /. c, pp. 397 et seq. 

68 Bulletin American Mttseutn of Natural History. [Vol. XVII, 

back, and, picking up the arrow, put it into the basket and said, 
"I think I shall have an arrow to take to my brother." If 
any man shot an arrow in this way, and could not succeed in 
getting it out of the basket, he was sure to die. Pitmi'lussi, 
after shooting the arrow, hurried on, and caught up with the 
girl. He put his hand underneath the basket and pulled his 
arrow out, thus getting the best of the girl. Thunder was 
watching what had been going on, and as soon as Pitmi'lussi 
got the better of the daughter, it thundered; and Thunder 
called out, "Some one has the best of us " (" Mino'doko niki' "). 
By and by the girl came to a large patch of wild roses: they 
grew very thickly, and had many thorns. She walked 
through them, however; and as she walked, the roses closed 
up behind her, and left no trace of a path. The young man, 
however, had with him a piece of flint, and, placing it on the 
ground, he said, "You must cut me a path." It did so, and, 
cutting from side to side, it cut a path for him, through which 
he walked, and followed the girl. So he got through, and 
again it thundered. 

Xext the girl came to a place where there were a great num- 
ber of rattlesnakes, and passed through them all safely. Pit- 
mi'lussi, as he followed behind, put on his stone moccasins, 
which reached up to his waist. These stone moccasins were 
red-hot, and so he was able to walk through the snakes in 
safety. Then it thundered again. Pitmi'lussi then said to 
himself, "Hurry up and come, night: I wish to sleep with 
this woman" ("Ku'lulelep kii'lekan ni'ki tu'yihakas"), and 
instantly it was night. Always before, the woman had been 
able to go through the day without the man who was following 
her being able to keep up. The girl made camp, and he staid 
with her for the night. While they were sitting there, she 
brought on a great storm, and Pitmi'lussi went off to get some 
wood. When he did so, his brother immediately was with 
him, and began to help him. The storm put out the fire, and 
made things very uncomfortable. Near the camp was a huge 
tree, and in it was a hole through which the woman could 
crawl. She crawled in, and put her basket, which was full of 
ice, over the opening. The two brothers were outside by the 

1902.] Dixon, Maidii Myths. 69 

fire, talking. The younger brother said, "I'd better go in 
and sleep with her there." The older said, "No, that will be 
bad. I'd better go." To this the younger agreed. He 
seized the ice-basket, and, although it was so slippery that 
no one else could hold it, he pulled it out through the hole, and 
crept in. Deinde cum ea ludere incipiebat; cunique vaginam 
ejus dentibus crotali circunidatani sentiret,' silice arrepto 
omnes abscidit sustulitve. In the morning the girl had a 
child. Again it thundered. 

She came out, and after eating proceeded on her way. She 
came soon to a great pond, or river, covered with ice so 
slippery that no one could stand on it. She passed over 
easily, however; and when Pitmi'lussi came, he again put on 
his stone moccasins, and with these walked over easily, melt- 
ing the ice with the red-hot shoes. Then it thundered. Next 
the girl led him to a great river, very broad, but shallow near 
the edge. As he went farther in,- it grew deeper and deeper. 
The water was up to his nose. Pitmi'lussi had a piece of 
feather of a dtick (Wa'tko). His spirits told him to stick this 
in his hair. He did so, and at once the feather began to call 
out, "At-at-at-at!" and the water at once began to go down 
and grow shallower, and thus he got across." 

Next the girl led him through the Valley of Old Age, in which 
people died of old age before they could pass through (Ne'no- 
wonokongkoyo). He travelled and travelled, following the 
girl, till it seemed as if he never would get through. He be- 
gan to grow gray, then white, became weak. Then his spirits 
said to him, "Stick that feather of the Atataim bird (si'lepam) 
in your hair." He did so. At once the duck-feather cried, "At- 
at-at-at!" and he became young again, and got to the other 
end of the valley. Beyond this Valley of Old Age was a great 
sweat-house which belonged to Thunder. It was all of solid 
ice, and lay far in the east. The girl was some ways ahead 
when she reached the sweat-house, and she walked easily up 
to the top, carrying the child, and entered through the smoke- 
hole. When Pitmi'lussi reached the house, he put on his 

^ Compare Boas, /. c, pp. 24, 30, 66; Parrand, Chilcotin, p. 13. 
- Another account has it that he made a raft of the feather. 

yo Bulletin American Museum of Natural History. [Vol. XVII, 

stone moccasins, and, walking easily up, entered, and sat 
down beside his wife. Then it thundered again. 

Thunder then ordered the woman to give Pitmi'lussi some- 
thing to eat. She did so, and he ate readily. It was poison, 
but it did not harm him. Then it thundered. It was nearly 
night, and Thunder said to his son-in-law, "There is a large 
pitch-log out there. You had better go out and get some for 
kindling for the morning." Pitmi'lussi went out, and found 
the log. It was very solid and hard, and he had no axe. Un- 
less a man could break off a piece with his hands, he would 
die, and all about the log were the bones of those who had 
failed. Pitmi'lussi thought a while, then talked with his 
spirits, who told him what to do. He took the log up, and 
smashed it against the ground, thus breaking it to pieces. He 
gathered up an armful, and came in with it. Then it thun- 

In the morning Thunder told Pitmi'lussi to go down to the 
river and spear some fish; he told him where to go, and to 
watch, for there were several kinds of fish. If one came 
along wearing bead earrings, he was not to spear it; but if 
one came along wearing buckskin earrings, this was the one to 
spear. He went and waited. By and by the fish with buck- 
skin earrings came along, and he speared it. The fish could 
not get loose, and Pitmi'lussi could not land it, and they had 
a great struggle, the fish gaining all the time, for Pitmi'lussi 
could not let go of the spear. The fish was pulling him under 
the water, when he called on his spirits. Immediately he saw 
some water-ousels (Tse'ktsakho); and these, diving down 
under the fish, pushed it up toward the surface, and Pitmi'- 
lussi began to get the best of it. Finally, with the help of the 
water-ousels, he got the fish ashore, and carried it to the 
house. Then it thundered. 

The next morning Thunder sent his son-in-law out on a 
deer-hunt. He told him where to go. He went, and found 
no deer; but a huge grisly bear was there, and jumped out 
at him. He kept shooting at the grisly, but could not kill it. 
The bear came up very close to the man, so close that he 
could not get his arrows out of the quiver, so he turned antl 

1902.] Dixon, Maidu JSlyths. J i 

ran. The grisly bear time and again almost caught him, but 
always failed at the last moment. It chased Pitmi'lussi for 
half a day. They came at length to the top of a high moun- 
tain ; and as Pitmi'lussi looked down to see where he was going 
to run to, he saw a huge tree (Tsti'militim tsa) all made of ice, 
made for him by his spirits. It was swaying back and forth, 
back and forth, bending far down on this side, and then on 
that. As he went down the mountain toward the tree, he 
gained on the bear, and when he reached it he was a little 
ahead. As he reached it, the top came down to the ground at 
his feet in one of its swayings; he caught it, and was swung 
up by it high in the air, where the tree then remained 
stationary. The grisly came up, and tried to climb the 
tree, but could not, as it was all ice and very slippery. Find- 
ing he could not climb, the bear lay down at the foot of the 
tree to wait till the man should come down. The bear could 
not be killed unless he was hit in the left hind-foot,' but Pit- 
mi'lussi did not know this. From the top of the tree he shot 
at the bear many times, and put many arrows in the bear's 
body, but without killing it or troubling it at all. He had 
shot all his arrows away but one. He kept this for some time, 
and talked to his spirits, who told him where to shoot in 
order to kill the bear. He could not, however, hit the bear's 
left hind-foot, as the bear was lying so that it was under it. 
So Pitmi'lussi began to talk to the gophers, and told them to 
work under the bear, and gently to shove out the foot that he 
wanted to hit. They did so, and he shot the bear and killed 
it. Then it thundered. 

Then he came down from the tree, went back to the house, 
got his wife, and went home. If Pitmi'lussi had not overcome 
him. Thunder would have gone on killing people. Now Pit- 
mi'lussi put an end to it. He won back all his people. 

7. The Loon-WoiJian." 

A Loon (Ko'wokongktile) lived in a great sweat-house far 
to the north, with a great many other people who were her 

' See Boas, Tillamook, p. 38'; Kathlamet Texts, p. 10. 

- Told at Genesee. Compare Curtin, /. c, p. 407 seq. The Pit River Indians have 
nearly the same story. 

7 2 Bulletin American Museum of Xatural History. [Vol. XVII, 

brothers. She had a sister, Eagle (Ka'kangkiil^). They were 
the only two women in the sweat-house. The house was 
on the edge of a great lake, and had its door to the north. To 
the north of the house was the lake for the people to bathe 
in. Loon went to the lake, and found in the water a great 
quantity of hairs that her brothers had lost. She pulled out 
some of hers to see how long her brothers' hairs were, com- 
pared to her own. Xext day she did the same thing, taking 
a hair from each man. She found her hair was the longest. 
She wanted to find one of the same length. There was one 
man in the sweat-house who took a bath every two days, 
instead of every day as did the others. Loon was in love 
with him, and wanted to marry him. The following day this 
man was in the crowd who went in bathing. She collected 
the hairs again, measured them all, and found one which was 
just as long as hers. Next da}'- she waited for them all to 
go in bathing again, then, painting herself with charcoal, she 
lay down in the trail along which they would all come back. 
All her brothers and cousins came by, but paid no attention 
to her. Coyote was among them, however, and he staid 
behind and took possession of her. After he had gone away, 
she came to the house and called Wood-Bug (Tsa'nkupe). 
He was the prettiest of all. She stood by the door of the 
house and called out, "Come on, my husband, let us go!" 
Now, the chief in the house was So'kotim maidu, and he said 
to the Wood-Bug and to Coyote, "Which of you did this?" 
Then he said to Coyote, "You go." When Coyote went out, 
the woman said, "I don't want you, I want my husband." 
The chief sent out another man; and Loon said, "No, 3-ou 
are not the one. If 5''0u don't send out the right one, the 
house will burn up." Then she went off a little way and 
began to sing, telling the one she wanted to come out. As 
she sang, flames of fire would run from her toward the house, 
but would die out and disappear before they reached it. The 
chief kept sending one man after another, till there were only 
two or three left, the one she wanted among them. The chief 
then asked Spider to make him a net. The house seemed to 
be catching fire from the flames which the woman caused. 

1902.] Dixon, Maidii Myths. 73 

She called out, " Hurry up, send out my husband, or the Sun 
will overcome me, and burn the house." The chief sent out 
the last one except the one she wanted, and then dressed up 
this one, giving him, before he sent him out, something which 
would prevent him from having any connection with the 
woman. The chief said to Spider, "Hurry up, make that 
net! " Before the man that she wanted came out, the woman 
was singing loudly, and turning slowly round and round, and 
the fire would dart out almost to the house. When the one 
she wanted came out, she seized him and went off. The sun 
was already sinking, but she looked at it, and made it go 
down at once, so that it was night. 

The man lighted a fire, brought in boughs and stuff for a 
bed, and laid a log along each side of where they were going 
to sleep. Loon said, " Hurry up and finish the bed, it is time 
to sleep." It was not yet time to go to bed, but the woman 
was in a hurry. She could not wait, but pulled the man 
down on the bed. Then she said, "I am going to conquer 
this country. I will make a good country of it." Nee tamen 
pras glande peni a magistro vici imposito cum ea poterat coire. 
The woman said, " People here can say by and by that I went 
crazy and married my brother long ago. Even if they do not 
overcome me in this world, people from now on will go crazy." 
Before morning she fell asleep from fatigue. The man then 
gently took one of the logs, rolled it on the woman, and him- 
self crawled off, then went away to the house they had left. 
By this time Spider had made the great net; and Wood-Bug 
with all the rest of the people got into it, and all were drawn 
up into the sky, so that Loon could not get at them again. 

When Loon woke up, she found the log instead of the man. 
She gave a great yell, and started to hunt for him, running 
along with the fire darting out in great tongues before her. 
As she came close to the sweat-house, she saw it was in flames, 
and said, "When people talk of these things hereafter, they 
can say that I went crazy. Because of this, other people will 
go crazy." The woman's sister, Eagle, followed the others 
who were drawn up to the sky, saying, " I will go up too, and 
watch over my brothers." When Loon saw that the house 

74 Bulletin American Museum of Natural History. [Vol. XVII, 

was completely burned and the people all gone, she gave a 
loud cry and fell down dead. By and by, however, she came 
to life again, and went down to the lake, where there were 
many willows. She broke off several and went back to the 
place where she had fallen when she saw all the people had 
gone. She wove the willows into a scoop or seed-beater. 

When the people had got into the net to be drawn up. Liz- 
ard was the first in, and was at the bottom. He could see a 
little through the bottom of the net, and saw all that Loon 
was doing. He said to the rest, "I will look back and see 
what is going on. I am sorry for my sister." So he took his 
finger and made the opening a little larger in order to see 
better; but as soon as he did so, the net tore, and all fell 
down, right into the midst of the blazing sweat-house. There 
their hearts began to burst from the heat, and to fly out 
through the air. Lizard's was the first. Loon saw it flying 
up, and caught it with her scoop. Another flew up, which 
she caught in the same way. The third she tried for she 
missed, and instantly fell dead. By and by she came to 
again. She missed the hearts of all the best ones. All this 
time Eagle was circling about in the sky overhead, watching 
where the hearts fell. She said to herself, "Into whatever 
valley they drop, on whatever mountain they fall, I shall find 
them." For a long time the heart of Loon's husband did not 
burst. Finally it did, however, and she missed it. Then she 
fainted again. When she came to, she went to the pile of 
hearts she had caught to look at them, and, on finding that 
she had lost all the best ones, fainted again. Then she came 
to once more, and strung the hearts she had on a string for 
a necklace. She then went away to the north, and finally 
came to a lake. She jumped into it with the string of hearts 
on, saying, " People can say, when they speak of these things, 
that in the long ago Loon jumped into a lake with her brothers' 
hearts. She was crazy when she did it." 

About this time Eagle began to hunt for the hearts that 
had flown away. She found all but two, those of the best 
men of all. She went farther to the north. Here she came 
to the grandmother of Water-Ousel. Slie spent the night 

1902.] Dixon, Maidu Myths. 75 

with her, and asked if she had seen or heard anything. She 
and her children Hved on the edge of a lake, and used to go 
there to shoot ducks. They said, "Yes, when we go to get 
ducks, we see something wearing a necklace of hearts swim- 
ming by." They told Eagle where it started from, — a great 
rock on the north side of the lake, whence it would come with 
a loud cry. Eagle wanted them to kill this person, and said, 
"I left my bow and arrows behind, with all the things that 
my brothers left. I will go and get them, and then you can 
kill this thing." She went back, therefore, to the sweat- 
house, found a bow and arrows, and came back. She was 
singing all the time, as she thought that she was going to get 
the hearts back. She gave Water-Ousel the best arrows, and 
they went down by daylight to look for the thing. While 
they were there, they heard it cry and saw it swimming. 
When Loon drew near, she was looking at herself in the water, 
and did not see them. They both shot at the same time; 
and at once Loon dived, and did not come up for half a day. 
They shot at daybreak, and she did not come up till noon, 
but then she came up dead. They brought her ashore, and 
then called Eagle. She said, "People will call you Loon. 
You will never be able to harm people again. You will be a 
bird that can be killed. People will say, "In the olden time 
Loon went crazy, and had her brothers' hearts, and was 
killed." Then Eagle started back. 

When she arrived at the place where the house had been, 
she threw the hearts into the lake where the people used 
to bathe. Next morning all the people had come to life, and 
came up out of the lake. Then Eagle left for the north again, 
to find the two hearts that were still missing. There was a 
woman living there who had two daughters. She was pound- 
ing acorns, and the daughters had gone for wood. They 
heard something singing beautifully, and followed the sound 
to find out what it was. Following along a small stream, 
they came to a deer-lick, where there were a great many deer- 
tracks. It was to this spot that the two missing hearts had 
flown. They were crying, and it was their tears that made 
the salt-lick. The girls saw the tips of the hearts sticking up 

76 BtilUtin American Muscinii of Natural History. [Vol. X\'II, 

out of the ground. The girls at once made some digging- 
sticks, and began to dig up the hearts, forgetting all about 
the wood the}'' had gone for. Finally they dug them up, and 
started for home, each carrj'ing one. When they got there, 
they covered them with their blankets, and went to bed. In 
the morning the hearts had come to life, and married the two 
girls. One of these was Wood-Bug, the other Fisher (Inbu- 

By this time Eagle reached the place where they were liv- 
ing. She said, "When people die, it will only be necessary 
to put them in the water, and in the morning they will be 
alive again. If we are beaten on this point, people will have 
to die and not come to again. If we get beaten, we shall have 
to be what we are." When she found that the two hearts 
had come to life, she left them there, and went back to where 
the sweat-house used to be. She was going to stay there to 
hear what the others would do. She said, "If we get beaten, 
the sweat-house will turn into a mountain, and we will scatter." 
They staid there then to see what would happen. 

8. Stin and Moon.^ 

I. Far to the north Sun (E'kim po'ko) had built a big 
house of ice. The house was as large as a mountain, and no 
one could climb up and get in. Sun could therefore kill people 
and steal them. She thought she would live forever. From 
the house she started and went north. She found a Frog 
(We'lketi kiillokbS), who had three children. She stole one 
without the mother knowing it, and carried it home. The 
old Frog hunted everywhere for her child, but could not find 
it. Two days after this. Sun went again to the north, to the 
place where Frog lived, and stole another child. Frog missed 
her child, and tried to find it, but could not. She tried to 
think how she had lost it, but could not solve the mystery. 
Sun meanwhile waited and waited, and thought how she 

' Told at Genesee. 

1902.] Dixon, Maidu Myths. J J 

could get the third child. She waited ten days, then said, 
"If I start this time, I'll go straight to the house." She did 
so. Frog was sitting on the east side of the house, making a 
pack-basket. Sun went in and sat down on the west side; 
and, the door of the house being to the north, she planned to 
take the child off to the east, and so around to her house. 
Frog had three pieces of grass and three pieces of willow in 
her mouth, out of which she was making the basket. Sun 
said, "Why are you sitting here in this lonely place?" Frog 
asked the same question, suspecting that this was the person 
who had been taking off her children. Sun replied, "I'm 
travelling about because I am lonesome. I am harmless." 
Frog thought to herself, "That is always the way that you 
talk, you think that no one knows anything about you." 
Pretty soon Sun said, "I am going now. I am going to see 
what sort of a country I can find near here." At this mo- 
ment the last of Frog's three children went outside to play. 
As Sun went out, she seized the child, and ran off at once to 
her own home. She made a patch of willow (Tsu'pim) grow 
up behind her, so fine that any one who followed would stop 
to pick some. The old woman ran after Sun; but when she 
came to the willow-patch, she stopped to pick some, and 
forgot all about what she had gone for. By and by she re- 
membered, however, and ran on. She nearly caught up with 
Sun, who just succeeded in getting into her house before she 
could seize her. Frog tried to climb up the side of the house, 
but could not do it, for she slipped and fell back after getting 
only halfway up. She tried again and again, and after many 
trials succeeded in reaching the top. She called to Sun, " This 
is what you have been planning out to do, is it? What are 
you going to do now? Do you think you are going to be 
killed by me, or are you going to kill me as well as my chil- 
dren? What day did you think you would see me? Come 
up here and let us see if you are the sort that cannot be 
killed?" Sun said, "What can you do to me?" Frog 
showed her her mouth, and said, "Come up, and you will see 
what I can do. ' ' Sun started up ; and as she came up out of 
the entrance. Frog swallowed her quick as a flash. Then she 

7 8 BuUeiin American Museum of Natural History. [Vol. XVII, 

crawled away to one side, and lay there a long time, thinking, 
wondering what Sun would do. Soon she began to feel Sun 
moving about inside of her, beginning to swell, and grow 
larger and larger. Thought she, "If Sun keeps on growing 
larger and larger, and in this way conquers me, there will be 
people in this world who will steal." Before long Sun had 
grown so much that part protruded from Frog's mouth, and, 
continuing to grow, she finally burst Frog in two, and killed 
her. Then she said, "If people find others stealing, they can 
follow them and kill them." Then she said to Frog, "You 
can be a Frog, and live in the water. Let people alone. I 
will be the Sun. We will neither of us harm people." Then 
she spoke to her brother, Moon, and asked, "Do you wish to 
be Moon or Sun, to travel by day or by night?" Moon re- 
plied, "You try travelling at night." So Sun tried it ; but the 
Stars all fell in love with her, and she could not travel because 
of their attractions. The Pleiades started to follow her, but 
she saw them, and they stopped. When she found she could 
not travel, she went back, and told her brother that he must 
go by night. This he agreed to, and has kept it up ever since. 

2. Sun and Moon were sister and brother. They did not 
rise at first. Many different animals were sent to try and 
see if they could make the two rise, but failed. None of them 
could get into the house in which the brother and sister lived. 
This house was of solid stone, and was far away to the east. 
At last Gopher and Angle- Worm went. Angle- Worm made 
a tiny hole, boring down outside, and coming up inside the 
house. Gopher followed, carrying a bag of fleas. He opened 
it, and let half of the fleas out. They bit the brother and 
sister so, that they moved from the floor where they were to 
the sleeping-platform. Then Gopher let out the rest of the 
fleas, and these made life so miserable for Sun and Moon, that 
they decided to leave the house. The sister was afraid to 
travel by night, so the brother said he would go then, and 
became the Moon. The sister travelled by day, and became 
the Sun.' 

' Tokl at Mooretown, Butte County. 

1902.] Dixon, Maidii Myths. 79 

g. Bear and Deer.' 

Bear and Deer once lived together. Each had two 
children who played together all the time. Deer used to go 
off to gather clover, and one day Bear planned to kill her and 
eat her. Deer had told her children that day that if she did 
not come back, it would be because Bear had killed her. 
When Bear came home alone that night, the two children 
suspected that something was wrong. Bear said that Deer 
had gone away somewhere. That night, however, the two 
little Deer looked in Bear's basket of clover, and saw some of 
their mother's flesh. 

Next day the two Deer and the two Bears were playing to- 
gether. They built a camp and sweat-house. The two Deer 
went in first, and told the Bears to fan the smoke into the 
sweat-house, and that when it got too strong, they would call 
out to stop, and let them out. The Bears did as told, and 
after the Deer had come out, went in themselves. When 
they came out, the Deer went in again, and then the Bears; 
but this time the Deer did not stop when the Bears called out, 
and in this way smothered and killed them. Coming back to 
the house where Bear was, they told her that the two little 
Bears were still playing. Then collecting a c|uantity of a sort 
of herb with berries on it, they shot it all about, and then ran 
off to the north, toward Big Meadows. 

Bear could not find her children for a long time, but at last 
discovered them dead in the sweat-house. She at once called 
after the two Deer; but the herbs answered for them, and 
she went now here, now there, in vain. At last she found 
their trail, however; and near the edge of Big Meadows she 
came up with them. The two Deer saw a huge rock near by, 
and, jumping to the top of it, told it to stretch. It did so, 
and rose up as high as a small tree. Bear asked how to get up. 
The boy answered, and said he would help Bear up with the 
aid of the string of his sister's apron. When he let it down, 
he said, "When you get nearly up, shut your eyes and open 

' Told at Genesee. Compare Teit, /. c, p. 69; Boas, /. c, p. Si; Powers, /. c, p. 
341 at seq.; Gatschet, I.e., pp. 118 etseq.; Boas, Kathlamet Texts, pp. 118 et seq.; Cur- 
tin, /. c, p. 456. 

So Bulletin American Mustuin of Xaiural History. [Vol. XVII, 

your mouth, for I can't pull you up otherwise." Bear did as 
she was told, and just then the sister threw a red-hot rock 
into Bear's mouth, and the brother let Bear fall. Then the 
rock decreased in size again, the Deer jumped off, and ran on. 
By and by Bear recovered, and gave chase. The two Deer 
came to a river where their grandfather Shitepoke was sitting 
and fishing. They told him their story, and asked if he 
would help them across. So he stretched out one leg, and 
they crossed the river on it as a bridge. Then Shitepoke took 
them to his house, and covered them with a blanket. Soon 
Bear came along, and asked Shitepoke if he had seen the two 
Deer. He said, "No." Bear then said, "Their mother is 
looking for them everywhere, and I am sent to bring them 
home." Then Bear asked if he would help her across. Shite- 
poke agreed, and stretched out one leg for her to cross on. 
When Bear was about halfway over, he bent his leg and pulled 
it back, so that Bear fell into the river and was drowned.' 

There was once a Deer who had two children, a bo}^ and 
a girl. Near them lived a Bear who had a single cub. One 
day the mother Deer went out to get angle-worms. She 
hung a small brush on one of her children, and said, "If any 
harm should happen to me, the brush will fall off." The 
Bear cub was left to play with the two Deer. While the Deer 
was gathering the angle-worms, the Bear was in a rock-pile 
getting snakes. She filled her basket, and, coming along, 
met the Deer. The two went on together to a sand-bar in 
the river, and here were to eat their dinner. When the din- 
ner was over, the Bear said to the Deer, "You have lice on 
your head; let me take them oft' for you." For a long time 
the Deer refused, but finally agreed. The Bear gradually 
worked along down to the Deer's neck, then suddenly bit her 
head off and killed her. At this moment the brush which 
the Deer had tied on one of her children fell oft'. The children 
knew that their mother had been killed, so they jumped at 
the Bear cub and killed it. They buried it, first taking off 

' Compare Curtin, /. c, p. 450. 

1902.] Dixon, Maidu Myths. ol 

one of its claws, which they placed in a comb made by the 
3'ellow-jackets. AVhen the old Bear came home, the children 
asked where their mother was, and were told that she was 
coming. The old Bear asked where her cub was, and the 
young Deer replied that it was asleep. Then they ran off. 
The Bear ate the yellow-jacket's comb, and, finding the claw 
in it, knew that the cub was dead. The two Deer meanwhile 
had collected some berries, and had shot them in all directions, 
before running away for good. The Bear came running out 
as soon as she found that her cub had been killed, and called 
to the two Deer; but the berries answered for them, and the 
Bear went here and there in a vain search. Finally she did 
find their track, and, following it, came in sight of them. The 
two Deer had jumped up on the top of a very tall rock, and, 
as the Bear came, they told the rock to stretch, and grow 
taller yet. It did so, and the Bear came to the base of it, but 
could not climb up. The two Deer then lighted a fire on the 
top, and heated stones red-hot. The Bear asked how she 
could climb up ; and they told her to shut her eyes and open 
her mouth, when she would find it easy. The Bear followed 
their advice, and just as she reached the top the girl threw a 
large hot rock into the Bear's mouth, and killed her. The 
tall stone, with the tracks of the Deer and Bear, is still to be 
seen at Bald-Rock.' 

Grisly Bear and Deer went down the Cosumnes River, 
below Plymouth, to pick clover. They had a race to see who 
would get there first, and in the race Deer won. By and by 
Bear came, and they began to pick clover. After a while Deer 
said, "Sister-in-law, the lice are biting me." Bear started to 
bite the lice out, but bit off Deer's head and killed her. Then 
Bear ate Deer all but her head, which she carried home in a 
basket. There were two little Deer who were the children of 
the one who had been killed; and they, having been left at 
home, began to cry. When Bear came home to where they 
all lived, she told the little Deer to go to the basket and get the 
clover that was there for their supper. The youngest went, 

"■ Told at Mooretown. 
[June, jgo2.] 6 

82 Bulletin American Museum of Natural History. [Vol. XVII, 

and saw his mother's ear at the bottom of the basket. He 
went at once and told his older brother, who would not be- 
lieve it. but went to look for himself. That night the two 
Deer burned all the store of seeds that their mother had laid 
away for the winter. Bear asked them wiiat they were 
doing, and they replied that they were burning bark. Next 
day, while Bear had gone to pound acorns, the two Deer took 
some water and boiled it. Then they seized Bear's child, and 
threw it into the boiling water; and when it was dead, they 
cut ofif the skin in strips as if the liule Bear was painted. 
Then they went and collected wood in order to cook some 
acorns. When the old Bear got through ])Ounding acorns, 
she saw her child leaning against a rock, dead. Bear then 
began to call out for the two Deer. They had piled a lot of 
wood in a long row, and at the end of it placed four quartz 
rocks. . . . While Bear was chasing the Deer, they climbed 
a big rock, and their tracks are still to be seen to-day. . . . 
Bear asked the .Deer where they had crossed the stream, and 
they replied, "We crossed right there. Open your mouth 
when-3^ou swim." Then the oldest one took a hot rock and 
threw it at Bear, and missed her three times. The youngest 
one then seized a rock, and threw it into Bear's mouth. 
It passed right through Bear, and came out at her tail. 
Then the two Deer called all the other animals, and they 
came and skinned Bear. After Bear's hide had been spread 
down, the two Deer were lying on it. The youngest lay 
on his back, and saw something coming down from far up 
in the sky. He cried, "There's my uncle coming, there is 
Spider (Pusso)!" The older brother would not believe it at 
first. By and by Spider came down, wrapped the two in 
Bear's skin, and drew them up to the sky with him. When 
Spider and the Deer reached the sky, the two Deer began to 
play ball, rolling it along the ground. The youngest followed 
it and saw his mother. The older l)rotlicr did not l:)clieve it 
was tlieir mother at all. The younger one then went and was 
nursed at his mother's bosom, and, coming back to where his 
brother was, spat the milk out into liis hand; then his brother 
believed. Tlien tliev botli went to live with their mother 

1902.] Dixon, Maidu Myths. 83 

again. One day they were thirsty, and wanted a drink. 
Their mother said, "It is hard to get any water here." She 
went, however, to get some, fell in, and was drowned.' 

10. Coyote Tales."^ 

I. Fox went hunting one day. He chased an Elk far 
away to the north, then circled around to the east, and drove 
him back to the place whence they had started. Before they 
got back to their starting-point. Fox grew tired of the chase, 
and left Elk to go on by himself. When Elk had nearly 
reached the place whence he set out, he passed by Porcupine, 
who was lying in a hollow tree. As he did so, Porcupine 
shot and killed him. Porcupine came out from his hiding- 
place, and stood around, thinking how he should skin Elk. 
He said, " I have no knife. I must hunt up a sharp stone: I 
can use it for a knife. I wonder why I shot him, when I have 
no knife to skin him with and cut him up." 

Coyote w^as going along the side-hill just at this time, and 
heard Porcupine talking to himself. He wondered what it 
meant, and ran down to see. Porcupine picked up a piece of 
stone and said, "I wish you were sharp." Just then Coyote 
came along. He said, "What are you talking about all the 
time? What are you saying to yourself?" Porcupine re- 
plied, " I am talking because I have no knife. I killed an Elk, 
and now I can't skin him." To this Coyote answered, "If 
you will give me half the Elk, I'll let you have my knife." 
Porcupine said, "No, you ask too much. I'll give you one 
quarter if you will let me have your knife." Coyote agreed 
to this. Porcupine took the knife and began to skin the Elk, 
w^hile Coyote sat on a rock near by and watched him. 

When Porcupine had finished skinning the animal, and was 
about to pull off the skin, Coyote called out, "Stop! Let me 
tell you something good. Let us get out here and jump, and 
the one that jumps the farthest will get the whole Elk." 
Porcupine stopped and said, "Xo, I won't do that. I can't 

' Told at Nashville, El Dorado County. 

= For other coyote tales see R. B. Dixon, Some Coyote Stories from the Maidu In- 
dians of California (Journal of American Folk-Lore, Vol. XIII, pp. 267-270). 

84 Bulletin American Museum of Natural History. [Vol. XVII, 

jump." Coyote replied, "Do you suppose a fellow like me 
can jump? But if you won't jump, let us wrestle." Again 
Porcupine refused, and said, "Xo, do you think a fellow like 
me can wrestle? I cannot wrestle." Then Coyote said, 
"Let us run a race. You look as if you could run." But 
Porcupine said, "No, I can't run." Finally Coyote said, 
"Well, put the skin over the Elk, and then we will run, and 
see who can jump farthest over it." Porcupine replied, " Do 
you think I can jump? But if you want to jump this way, 
I'll tr^^ You begin. We must have two turns apiece." 
Coyote went back a little ways, trotted up to the skin, and 
hopped over easily. Porcupine came along, and barely suc- 
ceeded in getting over. Coyote was glad. He clapped his 
hands and laughed. He thought he should surely win. He 
started on his second jump, but, just as he rose over the Elk's 
body. Porcupine said to the skin, "Rise up!" and it rose, so 
that Coyote only barely got across. Then Porcupine jumped 
the second time, and won the Elk. He began to cut it up, 
and Coyote sat by and looked on. When Porcupine had the 
meat all cut up, he looked over and saw Coyote. Feeling 
sorry for him, he cut off a piece of the Elk's lights, and gave 
it to him. Then he kept on cutting, and turned his back on 
Coyote, who stole a quarter and a shoulder, and ran off, 
leaving his knife behind. Porcupine piled up the rest of the 
meat in the hollow tree, and lived there for some time.' 

2. Coyote was travelling eastwards. He had a small dog 
with him. After he had gone quite a ways, he met Snow- 
Hunter.- Snow-Hunter had a big dog, and proposed to 
Coyote that they should let their dogs fight. Coyote said, 
" Xo, ni}^ dog is too small. Let me think about it." He 
went off a little distance and defecated. He looked, and saw 
that it was a mouse's head. He asked it, "What shall I do? 
If I fight, shall I win?" He was answered, "You must not 
fight. If you do, both you and your dog will be killed." 
Coyote was angry. He said, "That's what you always say. 

' Told at Genesee. Compare Kroeber, /. c, pp. 270 etseq. 

' This term is apparently also used to refer to the Pit River Indians. 

1902.] Dixon, Maidu Myths. 85 

You always prophesy bad luck." So he kicked it downhill. 
He defecated again, this time a bunch of grass. He asked, 
"What shall I do? Shall I fight?" This time he was an- 
swered, "Yes. You must fight. You will win, and kill both 
the man and his dog." Then Coyote was pleased, and said, 
"That is what I like. You are a good fellow." He went 
back to Snow-Hunter, and said, "All right. We will let our 
dogs fight." They did so, and after a while Coyote's little 
dog killed Snow-Hunter's big dog. Then Coyote and Snow- 
Hunter fought, and in the end Coyote won. Coyote got the 
best of him, killed him.' 

3. Coyote and his grandmother w^ere living in a sweat- 
house all alone. One day Coyote heard some one shout far 
off to the east. He said to his grandmother, "I hear some 
one shouting." She replied, "That is something bad. Do 
not answer it." Then Coyote said, "What is bad about it? " 
and gave a shout in answer. Pretty soon he heard another 
shout, and again Coyote answered. By and by the shouts 
came nearer, and Coyote began to get frightened. He said to 
himself, "How can I save my grandmother's life? I know 
what to do: I'll dig a hole in the floor, and bury her." So he 
ran in, dug a hole, threw his grandmother in, covered her 
up, and smoothed the earth down nicely. Then he ran out 
again, and heard the shout close by. He answered, and then 
wondered how to save his own life. He ran off up behind the 
house and defecated, and inquired of his excrement what he 
should do. The first replied, "You will be killed." Coyote 
kicked it away down the hill, and asked a second. He was 
told, "You must hurry, run to those trees, gather all the pitch 
you can find, and carry it down to the fire. Warm it there, 
so that it will stick together, and then plaster it thick all along 
your belly. When the person comes, and asks you if he may 
cut you open and take the fat from your entrails, say, 'Yes.' 
Let him do it to you first." Coyote did all this, and then the 
person arrived. It was Snow-Hunter. He came up and said 
to Coyote, " Grandmother- Burier." Coyote replied, "Are 

1 Told at Genesee. Compare Teit, /. c, pp. .1° et seq. 

86 BuUetiu American Museum of Xatuial History. [Vol. XVII, 

you crazy? Did you ever see any one bury his grandmother 
alive?" Then Snow-Hunter said, "Let us take the fat from 
our entrails and eat it. I will take yours, and you can take 
mine." Coyote said, "All right! Take mine first." Then 
he lay down, and Snow- Hunter began to cut off the pitch 
which Coyote had plastered on his belly. Coyote lay there, 
groaning, and saying, "Oh, oh! you are cutting too deep, you 
are killing me ! " There was a big fire ready ; and when Snow- 
Hunter had cut off what he thought was the fat, but which 
was only the pitch Coyote had put on. Coyote rolled over, 
and groaned that he was killed. Snow-Hunter took the pitch 
to the fire, and began to cook it. It began to soften and 
melt. He turned it over and over, and thought it was the 
fat that was cooking out: so he took it off the fire, and began 
to eat it. It did not taste very good, and he said, " It doesn't 
taste very good, but I will eat it, anyway." When he had 
eaten it all, Coj-ote got up and said, "Now let me try you." 
Snow-Hunter said, "No, yovi won't eat me." Coyote said, 
"Oh, yes! I will: let me cut you. I won't take but a little 
piece. I do not eat much. I shall not need a great deal." 
Then Snow-Hunter said, "All right! l)ut don't eat much." 
Then he lay down, and Coyote took a knife and thrust it in up 
to the hilt, and ripped Snow-Hunter up, and killed him. 
Coyote then said, "People can call you Kom maidu. You 
will never be seen, you will be invisible." Then he dug his 
grandmother up, and they lived there always.' 

4. People were angry with Coyote. They all agreed that 
every one should come in from north and east, from south and 
west, and crowd all the Coyotes into the centre of the country, 
and then they would kill every Coyote. They did this, but 
overlooked one. He was an Initiate (Yg'ponim), and the 
chief of all. They hunted everywhere for him, and at last 
they found him. Then they looked everywhere for the 
largest tree they could find, and finally found it to the west. 
It was a great yellow-pine, and, having split it open, they put 
Coyote inside, and let the tree close together over him. They 

' Told at Genesee. 

1902.] Dixon, Maidu Myths. 87 

thought they had killed him this way. The chief called all 
the people together and said, "As you spread out to go home, 
see if you can hear any noise like a Coyote." The pine-tree 
was hollow, and so Coyote was not crushed to death, as the 
people thought. He was merely imprisoned. By and by 
Red-headed Woodpecker (Ala'kmakko) came, and began 
tapping on the log, as it sounded hollow. He worked away 
for two days, and all this time Coyote lay still and listened. 
At the end of the next two days he could see a faint spot of 
light. Next day Woodpecker came again, and enlarged the 
hole he had made, so that Coyote could see quite a little light. 
By and by Coyote said, "Cousin, make the hole bigger, 
please;" but the Woodpecker was frightened, and flew away. 
Then Coyote got angry, and said, "The reason people call me 
crazy is that I don't know enough to keep quiet." 

The bird did not return, and Coyote wondered how he was 
to get out. At last he defecated, and inquired how he could 
get out. He was answered that he would never get out, but 
that he would die in the tree. Angry at this prophecy, he 
defecated a second time, and, on questioning his faeces, was 
told to transform himself into a fog, and thus pass through 
the small hole that Woodpecker had made. He did so; and 
as soon as he came out, he again became a Coyote. He said, 
"I'm a Coyote, and can never die. People may kill me, but 
there will always be Coyotes left." 

When the people had put Coyote into the tree, the chief 
had said, "If we hear nothing of him for six days, we may be 
sure that he is dead." Coyote, however, got out on the fifth 
day, and started back toward this country. On the sixth 
morning, just at daylight, he began to howl, just to let people 
know that there were some Coyotes left. The people heard 
him, and said, "We hear Coyotes crying. They are still 
alive." They hunted for him again, caught him, and took 
him to the west, to a great lake in the middle of which was a 
rock, from which he could not swim away. They put him on 
the rock; and the chief said, "If another six days go by, and 
we hear nothing of him, he will be dead." Coyote thought a 
long time as to how he should get away, but could not think 

^8 Bulletin American Museum of Natural History. [Vol. XVII, 

of any way. So he asked the advice of his excrement, as 
before. The first time he asked, it said, "How do you think 
you can get away from here ? You will have to stay till you 
die." The second time he was, as before, more successful, 
and was told, "You will live. In the morning, if you watch, 
the fog will rise. When it does, get off on it, and travel to 
the east, back to the land." Coyote followed this advice, 
and on the sixth day he reached land again, and, coming back 
to this country, began to howl. He said, "People can say 
the Coyote will never die. The Coyote can never be killed off. 
Wherever I urinate, even if I am killed, there will be another 
Coyote again." The people heard him howling, and said, 
"He has got the best of us. He has beaten us. Let us give 
him up." Then Coyote went off, saying to himself, "I'm 
going to travel through the middle of this world ; and in every 
valley I come to, I'll catch mice for my living. I'll be a 
Coyote." ' 

5. A man was fishing. Coyote came along, and asked 
him if he was catching an}'- fish. The man answered, "Yes." 
Then Coyote asked the man to give him some, and the man 
said, " Go on up the creek, and light a fire. By and by I will 
come, and we will cook the fish." Pretty soon Coyote came 
back. The man said, " I told you to go farther up and build 
the fire." Coyote went back and built another fire farther 
away, then came back again. He received the same answer, 
and, on building another fire, came back once more. This 
time he told the man that if he did not give him some of the 
fish, he would steal them. The next time he came back and 
was disappointed. Then he went on the other side of the 
creek, and made a j,ump at the man. The latter turned so 
that Coyote landed on a bag of deer-bone fish-hooks, which 
caught his feet. Coyote begged to be released, but the man 
refused; and finally Coyote tore himself loose, and ran off, 
saying, "People can call me Coyote." ' 

6. The young Deer were living with their grandfather 
Shitepoke. Coyote came to court the girl, kept coming, and 

• Told at Genesee. 


,] Dixon, Maidii Myths. 89 

staying very late, — till midnight or morning. Finally he 
told the old Shitepoke what he wanted, and the latter agreed 
to let him marry the girl. So Coyote took her away to his 
camp. After a while the wife grew lazy, making Coyote go 
for water, etc. He grew tired of this, and one day told her 
to go for the water. She did not answer; and after speaking 
several times, Coyote got angry, seized the woman, and threw 
her up out of the smoke-hole. Her deer-skin robe caught, 
and remained hanging down, while the woman went off back 
to her grandfather's. Coyote thought that his wife was still 
sitting up on the roof, and called to her to come down. She 
did not answer. Then he said, "If you don't come down, 
I'll pull you down." Still she did not answer: so he jumped 
up, caught the robe, and gave it a pull. It came easily, and 
Coyote fell over into the fire with the robe on top of him. He 
was nearly burned to death, but finally came to, and went 
away, saying, "People can call me Coyote." ' 

7. Coyote once wanted a woman, but could get no one 
who would have anything to do with him. So he resolved on 
a trick. He built himself a sweat-house, cut off his membrum 
virile, and made a baby of it. He made himself look like a 
woman, and invited a lot of women to his house for a big 
feast. AVhen they came, all danced for a while, then ate, and 
then lay down and went to sleep. As soon as all the women 
were asleep. Coyote turned himself back into a man, cohab- 
ited with the women, then went away. In the morning 
the women woke up. They found that some had children, 
others were in the pains of child-ljirth. There was no dance- 
house, everything was gone.^ 

8. Coyote lived with his grandmother. She was pounding 
acorns one day, and wanted some wood to make a fire, for the 
purpose of heating the stones with which she was going to 
cook the meal. So she sent Coyote after some wood. He 
went up on the side-hill, and was starting back with an armful 
when he heard some one singing. He stopped to listen, and 

' Told at Genesee. 

90 BuUctin American Museum of Natural History. [Vol. XVII, 

said, "It is a woman. I'll go and see her." So he dropped 
his load of wood, and followed the singint^. lie followed all 
day, but could not catch up. Xight came, and he took some 
grass and made himself a bed in a hollow tree. In the morn- 
ing, when he w'oke up, he found that the tree had grown up 
over him, and that he was a prisoner. He did not know how 
to get out. Presently he heard a woodpecker tapping; for the 
tree was an old one, and had many worms in it. Coyote 
called out, thinking it was some friend, but only scared the 
bird, which flew off to a neighboring tree, but soon returned. 
A second time the bird was startled and flew away, but again 
came back. By this time Coyote knew that it was a wood- 
pecker, and kept still. After a while the woodpecker had 
pecked a hole through, and Coyote, overjoyed at the sight of 
daylight, again scared the bird away. He was now^ in a 
quandary as to what to do. He had one resource left, 
however. He defecated, and then asked the faeces what to 
do. They could not tell him; so he tried again, and this time 
the faeces told him to turn himself into a mist, and, so doing, 
he passed easily out of the hole made by the bird, and was 
free. He turned himself back into his normal shape, and 
hurried on after the woman. He followed all the way to 
Sacramento Valley (To'kongkoyo), and here he saw the 
woman. Loon, lying in a sweat-house in the middle of the 
river. He could not get to her there, so he came back home 
to his grandmother again, saying, "People can call me a 
Coyote." ' 

9. One day Coyote was watching some IIumming-Birds 
darting about, and hanging apparently motionless in mid-air. 
He thought, "If I could only do that, all the girls in the 
country would fall in love with me." So he asked one of the 
Humming-Birds, " How did you ever learn to do that? Teach 
me how to do it too, my cousin." Humming-Bird replied, 
"The way that I learned to do it was to pick out a tall tree, 
climb u]) into it, and jump down; and just before hitting the 
ground I would say, 'Piu'nii!' and that would turn me up- 

' Compare Burns, /. c, pp. 311 et sdi. 

1902.] Dixofi, Maidu Myths. 9' 

wards again, and prevent my being hurt." Coyote was de- 
lighted, and went at once to find a suitable tree. He found 
one, climbed up, and leaped from the top; but before he 
could say, "Piu'nu!" he struck the ground and was killed. 
He lay there for a long time, till he was all dried up. Then 
two Crows came along, and began to eat his eyes. Just at 
this time Coyote came to life again, and called out, " Did you 
think I was dead? I was only asleep, so let me alone." 
Then he took a club and tried to hit the Crows, but they flew 
away. As he lay there he looked about, and saw many large 
black crickets. He had been there so long that he was 
nearly starved, so he picked them up one by one, and ate 
them; but he did not seem to be able to appease his hunger. 
He ate and ate, but was just as hungry as before. He won- 
dered to himself, "Why can't I fill up on them?" By and 
by he looked behind him, and found that he had lain there so 
long that there was a big hole in him, and the crickets were 
crawling out as fast as he swallowed them. When he saw 
this, he laughed, and said, "Well, people can call me Coyote." 

10. Once, before men had been made, all the animals went 
in search of fire to the south, to a burning mountain. They 
got there after a long journey, and went in after it. While 
most of the people were away getting the fire, Fox (Ha'wi) 
took Coyote off soine where, so that he would not make 
trouble. The people were coming back with the fire. They 
tossed it from one to the other as they went. Coyote saw 
them, and, escaping from Fox, he got in ahead of the others 
and caught the fire in his mouth. It burned him, so he dropped 
it in the grass, and in a moment it spread everywhere. Most 
of the animals and birds were burned. Coyote ran north, 
but the fire began to gain on him. It burned the tip of his 
tail, and he howled with pain. As he went along, he asked 
everything he came to, "How are you going to be when the 
fire comes?" And the squirrel-hole answered, "Red-hot;" 
and the lake answered, "Boiling hot;" and the brush- 
thicket answered, "I'll be in ashes."- So Coyote ran on. 
Presently he came to a hollow log, and, without asking it any 

92 Bulletin American Museum of Natural History. [Vol. XVII, 

questions, he crawled in. Soon the fire came and burned up 
the log, and with it CoA^ote; but when the fire had gone out, 
he came to life again, and came back to where the other ani- 
mals were living.' 

11. Coyote had a sister-in-law who was called Bear 
(Pa'no). Coyote told his wife one morning that he was going 
to see his sister-in-law. His wife said to him, " Don't be too 
rough." He said, "All right, I'll be careful. I just want to 
see what she is doing." When he got to his sister-in-law's, 
he made fun of her while she sat making a basket. She grew 
angry at his jokes, and jumped on him, and began to bite him 
to pieces, and scatter him all about. But Coyote all the time 
kept on laughing and saying, " Don't tickle me so, don't tickle 
me so." As long as she did not destroy the little finger on 
his right hand, she could not kill him.'- By and b}'- Bear 
began to get close to this finger, so Coyote bit her in the paw, 
and she dropped dead. Then he went back to his wife. She 
asked him how his sister-in-law was, and he said she was very 
well. Next day Coyote went again to see his sister-in-law. 
By this time her body had begun to decay. Coyote began to 
cry. He told his wife that her sister had died of pneumonia 
(TsS'sesi). They were going to have a big burning. When 
the Bears came to the chief's house, they saw Coyote there. 
He began to cry, "The Bears are going to take the village!" 
But his wife said, " Don't try to make fun. They are coming 
to let us know when there is going to be a big time." Coyote 
said, "How can a Bear have a big time?" They all went 
down to have a big time, and tied Coyote up to keep him 
from going. He got loose, however, and went. There was a 
great fight. Coyote ran and ran, till he could run no more; 
then he crawled into a hollow log. But the Bears came and 
pulled him out, and ate him.' 

12. By and by Coyote came to life. He got up and 
walked along. Pretty soon he reached a little creek where 
some Blackbirds were eating. He asked them why they were 

» Told at Chico. » See ante, p. 71. 

1902.] Dixon ^ Maidu My t lis. 93 

so black and handsome. They said that they had become 
so by digging a big hole in the ground, building a fire in it, 
and when the ground was red-hot, getting in and being 
covered up. Coyote thought this was a very nice thing. He 
asked if they would do this to him. They said they would. 
So he helped them to dig the hole and build the fire, and when 
all was ready he got into the hole. The birds covered him 
all up and left him. He was burned all up.^ 

13. Coyote saw Turtle sitting on a log. Coyote thought 
the back of Turtle was very handsome, and so he asked Turtle 
how he had acquired it. Turtle said that in order to have one 
like it, Coyote must get a lot of flints (arrow-points) and stick 
them on sticks, and set these up under a tall tree. Then he 
must climb the tree, and fall off from a slanting limb on to 
the points. So Coyote did as Turtle had told him; but he 
did not get the same fine back. He was killed instead.^ 

14. Coyote was walking along by a river. He saw a 
sycamore-tree. A leaf blew off from it, and came sailing 
softly down to the ground. Coyote thought he could do the 
same: so up the tree he went, jumped off, and was smashed 
all to pieces. 2 

15. Along this same river Coyote saw some Frogs jumping 
over a rock and diving under the nex.t one into the water 
beyond. He envied them: so he asked them if he might 
play at jumping with them. They said, "Yes." So Coyote 
jumped; but he struck his forehead on a rock under the 
water, and killed himself. ^ 

16. Coyote had a sweat-house in the Coast Range (Ta'iya- 
mani). He called a "big time," and invited all the people. 
They were to have a great race to gamble for their countries. 
Coyote said, "The ones that lose must stay in the mountains." 
The race was to be from the Coast Range to Honey Lake. 
All formed in line, and Coyote said, "After this race, all of 

1 Told at Chico. Compare Curtin, /. c, pp. 2,Zi et seq. - Told at Chico. 

94 Bulletin American Museum of Natural History. [Vol. XVII, 

vou, winners or losers, will be animals. After this people 
can call me a great chief. People everywhere can talk about 
me, and laugh about me. If I am beaten, my food will be 
mice, and other things like that." They all started. The 
slower ones were left behind, and staid there. The Jack- 
Rabbit won, and so gained the Honey- Lake country and all 
the valleys. Bear, Deer, etc., had to take the mountains.' 

11. The Fish-Hawk and the Two Deer-Ticks.^ 

Fish-Hawk lived at Big Meadows (Na'kangkoyo). He was 
married; and his two brothers, the Deer-Ticks, lived with 
him. In the morning he would go out to hunt, and then later 
come back with many ducks and geese. The two Deer-Ticks 
would ask him for some mallard, and then Fish- Hawk would 
pick out the poorest he had, and throw it at them, knocking 
them down. They would then get up, take the duck, cook it, 
and eat it. Every day Fish-Hawk treated the Deer-Ticks in 
this way. The biggest said to the other finally, "Our brother 
is treating us pretty badly. How do you think we can stand 
it? How can we get along? " The younger replied, " I don't 
think we can get along. We must do something." Then 
the older said, "Our brother is finishing some arrow-points. 
When he drops the biggest pieces, pick them up; but don't 
let him see you do it." Soon Fish-Hawk got so that he 
would not give his brothers anything at all to eat. Said one 
of them, " I think we shall have to starve, even if we have a 
brother who is getting plenty of game." While Fish-Hawk 
was away, his wife would feed the Deer-Ticks secretly. The 
youngest brother found a small piece of flint, and gave it to 
the other, who put it in his bag. 

After a while the one brother said to the other, " I'm going 
out to a deer-trail to see if I can see a Deer coming along. If 
I see one, I will ask him if we can go off with him. We must 
do something, or we shall starve to death." So the two 
brothers went out to a deer-trail and sat there. By and by a 
Deer came along, and one brother smacked his lips. The 

' Tiilil at Oi'iU'see. 

1902.] Dixon, AfaiJii Myths. 95 

Deer stopped and asked him why he was sitting there,, and 
said, "You are a fine Httle fellow. You had better come 
along with me. I'm going home." One of the Deer-Ticks 
replied, "Where are you going to carry me? If you carry me 
on your head, and get into a fight, you might kill me." The 
Deer said, "Oh, you can get on my back." — "No," said 
the Deer-Tick; "if I do, and you go through thick bushes, I 
might get scraped off." Then the Deer said, "Well, you 
might crawl under my arm-pit." But the Deer-Ticks would 
not agree to that, and finally said, " If you will put us on your 
neck or breast, we will go." To this the Deer agreed, and 
started off. Then quietly the Deer-Tick took out the bit of 
flint which he had put in his bag, and began to cut the 
Deer's throat. The Deer felt it; but by the time he stopped, 
his throat was already cut. When the Deer was dead, the 
Deer-Tick went back to the house and told his brother's wife: 
and she came and skinned the animal, and brought back all 
its meat, which she hid for the two, and did not tell her hus- 
band anything about it. After a while the meat was pretty 
nearly eaten. There was only a little piece left, and the 
younger brother had this. He sat with his back to Fish- 
Hawk, eating it. Fish-Hawk saw him, however, jumped 
across the house, and took the piece away from him, eating it 
himself. The little brother died. He said to Fish-Hawk, 
"All people can call you Fish-Hawk (Tsi'xtsix). We two will 
be Deer-Ticks (Su'mim tini'm)." 

12. The T o'loiinmAY Oman and tlie Biittcrfly-JMau.^ 

A To'lowim-Woman went out to gather food. She had her 
child with her; and while she gathered .the food, she stuck the 
point of the cradle-board in the ground, and left the child 
thus alone. As she was busy, a large butterfly flew past. 
The woman said to the child, "You stay here while I go and 
catch the butterfly." She ran after it, and chased it for a 
long time. She would almost catch it, and then just miss it. 
She wore a deer-skin robe. She thought, "Perhaps the 

' Told at Genesee. 

9^ Bulletin American Museum of Natural History. [Vol. XVII, 

reason why I cannot catch the butterfly is because I have 
this on." So she threw it away. Still she could not catch 
the butterfly, and finally threw away her apron, and hurried 
on. She had forgotten all about her child, and kept on 
chasing the butterfly till night came. Then she lay down 
under a tree and went to sleep. When she awoke in the 
morning, she found a man lying beside her. He said, "You 
have followed me thus far, perhaps you would like to follow 
me always. If you would, you must pass through a lot of my 
people." All this time the child was where the woman had 
left it, and she had not thought of it at all. She got up, and 
followed the butterfl3^-man. By and by they came to a large 
valley, the southern side of which was full of butterflies. 
When the two travellers reached the edge of the valley, the 
man said, "No one has ever got through this valley. People 
die before they get through. Don't lose sight of me. Follow 
me closely." They started, and travelled for a long time. 
The butterfly-man said, " Keep tight hold of me, don't let go." 
When they had got halfway through, other butterflies came 
flying about in great numbers. They flew every way, about 
their heads, and in their faces. They were fine fellows, and 
wanted to get the To'lowim-Woman for themselves. She saw 
them, watched them for a long time, and finally let go of her 
husband, and tried to seize one of these others. She missed 
him, and ran after him. There were thousands of others 
floating about; and she tried to seize, now one, now the other, 
but always failed, and so was lost in the valley. She said, 
" When people speak of the olden times by and by, people will 
say that this woman lost her husband, and tried to get others, 
but lost them, and went crazy and died." She went on then, 
and died before she got out of the valley. The butterfly-man 
she had lost went on, got through the valley, and came to his 

7j. The Monniain-hion, the Robin, and the Frog-Woman. 

One day while Mountain- Lion was hunting, he saw down 
the valley a lot of Robins gathering worms. He saw most 

' Told at Genesee. 

1902.] Dixon, Maidu Myths. 97 

go away, and then he went down to see if he could get one for 
a wife. This he did, and went away with her and married 
her. They had a child in a few days. As they travelled they 
came to a lake; and the Lion said, "You go around this side, 
follow this trail, and beyond the other end of the lake you will 
find my father's camp. If on the way you hear any one call 
from the lake, don't look around or listen. I will go around 
the other side, and hunt." So they parted, and went their 
separate ways. 

When Robin was nearly past the lake, she heard some one 
calling. She did not look around, however. The call was 
repeated, "Sister, v/ait for me!" Now, Robin had a sister, 
and thought that it was she who was calling: so she looked 
around, and was at once swallowed by Frog. Frog then took 
the child, and kept on to the house of Lion's father. Lion 
came back, and, although his wife looked all right, he thought 
something was the trouble. Frog ate a great deal that night, 
more than his wife had ever eaten. When night came, Lion 
turned his back on his supposed wife, and refused to yield to 
her enticements. Next day the child began to cry, and could 
not be comforted. That night Lion slept with his wife, and 
found that she was covered with scales. In the morning he 
told his parents to give his wife a large dish of wild oats to 
parch, and to keep up a very hot fire. They did so, and Lion 
went off hunting. Frog was much overcome by the great 
heat of the fire, and begged to be let off, but the parents re- 
fused. Soon she weakened and died from the heat. By and 
by Lion came back. He ripped open the body of the woman 
with his claws (his knife), and found his real wife, Robin, in- 
side. He took her body to the lake, laid it in the water over 
night, and in the morning she had come to life again. Then 
they lived together without any more trouble. 

14. The Cannihal Head.^ 

A man once had a bad dream. He told it to his wife and 
child. He dreamed that he ate himself up. He went out 

^ Told at Chico. Compare Curtin, /. c, pp. 325 et seq. 
'iJiine, igo2\ 7 

9"^ Bulletin American Museum of Natural History. \\o\. X\'II, 

the next day with his family to pick pine-nuts. He dimbed 
a tree and picked a great many nuts. Then he came down 
and told his^boy to go up. The lad did so, and, while picking, 
dropped one of the pine-burrs, which hit his father on the leg. 
It scratched the skin off, and the man's leg began to bleed. 
The man wiped the blood off, then he began to lick it off. It 
tasted good, and he at once began to tear off pieces of his flesh 
and eat them. He kept on till nothing was left but his head 
and shoulders. Then he began to bounce about, killing and 
eating people. Every one ran away. The man finally 
bounced into a river, and was never seen again. He fell into 
the river at Ya'itilli, on the western side. 

i^. The Stolen Brother.^ 

IMo'loko stole one of two brothers. The remaining brother 
sought everywhere for him, but in vain. He asked Moon if 
he had seen his brother. Moon said, "Yes, Mo'loko took him." 
The boy was delighted to hear that Moon knew who had 
carried off his brother, and asked how he could get to the 
place where Mo'loko lived. Moon replied that he could not 
go there by himself, but that he must have some one to help 
him. The boy therefore got Lark (Pi'pbe) to aid him. He 
asked Lark to take him along, but the latter replied that he 
was not large enough. He offered, however, to get his 
cousin Eagle (Wl'bem), who would be able to carry the boy. 
The boy asked Eagle if he was strong enough to take him, and 
Eagle replied, "Yes, but I can't bring both you and your 
brother back. I must get my uncle to help us." So he did, 
and Bald-Eagle (O'poli) came. Eagle asked, "Who will do 
the killing?" Bald-Eagle refused, on the ground that Mo'- 
loko might see him. All said the same except Lark, who 
agreed to kill him. All then went off to the east, to a high 
mountain where Mo'loko lived. The Eagles hid the brother 
in a tree, while Lark went back of Mo'loko, caught him 
around the neck, and killed him. Then Eagle took one of the 
brothers, and Bald-Eagle took the other, and carried them 
back home. 

' Told at Chico. 

1902.] Dixon, Maidu Myths. 99 

16. Lizard and Grisly Bear.^ 

In the south there were many bad Grisly Bears. They 
used to travel toward the north, where all kinds of people 
lived, and kill as many of them as they could. Every spring 
they would go and kill some. They kept doing this until 
they had killed all the people but two, — Lizard and his 
grandmother. The grandmother did not want Lizard to go 
out' anywhere, for fear he too would be killed. One day he 
slipped out, and got away. He went down towards the edge 
of the valley, and looked around. While he was there, one 
of the Bears came along, stopped in the middle of the valley, 
and began to sing and dance. Lizard was watching, and 
called out, "You big-headed thing, what are you dancing 
there for? That valley does not belong to you, you big- 
rumped thing!" When the Bear heard this, he sat down 
and said to himself, "I thought that I had killed all the 
people about here. I wonder what that was that called out, 
and where it is. I have not had any meat for a long time, 
and I am hungry for meat." So he began to dance again, to 
see if he could make the person talk again, and so find out 
where he was. When the Bear began to dance. Lizard said 
the same thing that he said before. He was standing on the 
edge of a rocky bluff that was on the side of the valley. By 
and by the Bear found out where Lizard was. He said to 
himself, "I think I will go halfway to the bluff and dance and 
sing again, then I can tell just where the person is." He did 
so, and again Lizard made the same reply. The Bear thought, 
"I will go to the edge of the valley and dance again. I won- 
der how I missed this person before. I hunted all over the 
country, and thought that I had killed them all." He 
danced again, and Lizard replied. The Bear looked care- 
fully, looked everywhere, but could not see Lizard, although 
he could hear him whenever he spoke. The Bear went up on 
the bluff, and hunted a long time, and finally saw Lizard. He 
was in a crack between two stones, watching the valley. The 
Bear came up and said, "Was it you that was shouting, you 

' Told at Genesee. 


lOO Bulletin American Mi/seum of Natural History. [Vol. XVII, 

little thing?" Then the Bear gave a loud shout. Then he 
said, "What are you staying here for? People such as you 
have no right to be here. Tell me, were you shouting at me 
and calling me names?" Lizard said, "Yes." Then the 
Bear said, "You will have to die. I have come to kill you. 
I don't want people like you around here." Lizard had 
found a small flint in his camp before he came out. His 
father had left it. Lizard had this with him, was holding it 
underneath his body so that people could not see it. He said, 
"Well, kill me, then, if you want to." Then he got up on his 
hands and feet, and the Bear jumped at him with his mouth 
open to swallow him; but Lizard jumped down the Bear's 
throat so quickly, that he had no chance to bite him. Lizard 
had his flint knife between his hands when he jumped; and 
when he was inside the Bear, he began to cut him all up, and 
by and by the Bear died.' Then Lizard said, "People here 
will not talk about you and say that you were a great man. 
They will not say that you killed all the people in this country. 
Go back to 3'our own country in the south. Stay there. You 
will be a Pu'suni, a bad Grisly Bear." Then he cut out the 
Bear's heart, and went home to his grandmother. When he 
got back, she began to dance. She danced on the Bear's 
heart till it was all ground up to nothing. Then they two 
staid there always. 

J". The Skunk and tJie Beetle.'- 

Skunk and Beetle were cousins. One day Skunk said, 
"Let us go over to Honey Lake and get some reeds for ar- 
rows." Beetle agreed, and off they went. Beetle was a 
slow traveller, however; and Skunk left him behind, and 
went on alone. By and by, having collected all the reeds he 
wished, he came back, and met Beetle still on the way. Beetle 
said, "Your arrows are not good: throw them away and get 
some more." So Skunk agreed. While they were at the 
lake, they were attacked by the enemy. Beetle shot at them 

' See Boas, /. c, pp. 3, ji, 74, loi, 171, 212, 256, 315; Petitot, Traditions indien- 
nes du Canada, etc., p. 310; Dorsey, The Cegiha LanguaRC, p. 34; Kroeber, /. c, p. 
270; Farrand, Chilcotin, p. 40. ■' Told at Genesee. 

1902.] Dixon, Maidu Myths. lOI 

with his bad odor, till this was completely exhausted, and the 
men were closing in. Then Skmik walked about with his tail 
held high up in the air. The tip of it just reached above the 
top of the grass, and all the enemy shot at the tail, so Skunk 
himself escaped. After a while Skunk got close to the people, 
and, shooting them, he killed them all. Then the two col- 
lected their arrows and came back. 

18. The Wolf makes tJie Snow ColdJ 

Wolf and his wife lived toward the southwest. They had a 
daughter, who was married and had many children. The 
children were out playing, when it began to snow. It kept 
snowing till the snow was up to people's knees. Then it 
cleared off. Next morning the children went out and began 
to play. They made a great deal of noise, shouting and call- 
ing to each other, as they played in front of their grandfather's 
house. The children played all day, and next morning they 
began again. Toward night the old Wolf grew angry. He 
wanted to sleep, but the children kept him awake. It was 
the first time the children had ever seen snow, that was why 
they made so much noise. Wolf said to his wife, "I will teach 
those children something." Then he went outside the house, 
and urinated in the snow, all about the camp. That made 
the snow cold: before, it had been warm. The children 
played about a while; but their fingers and toes soon got cold, 
and they went into their mother's house to warm themselves, 
and cried. Then Wolf went back into the house, and went to 
sleep. That is the way he spoiled the snow. 

IQ. Thunder and his Daughter." 

Thunder and his daughter lived together. He had finger- 
nails that were like long claws. The daughter wanted to 
marry Flute-Player (Ya'lulupe), who was good-looking. Her 
father, however, did not want her to do so. The girl said, 
"I will marry him." Then her father replied, "If you do, I 
will tear up the ground and roar so that it will make you 

' Told at Genesee. " Told at Chico. 

102 Bulletin American Museum of NiXtural History. [Vol. X\'II, 

deaf." The girl replied, "I can do that also." She went 
a^Yay then, and her father could not find her. He went 
everywhere, looking for her, went as a big thunder-cloud. 
At last he found her far away in the mountains. He asked 
her where she had been, and she replied, "Nowhere." He 
said, "I know better, you have been to see Flute-Player." 
Finally the girl confessed. Then her father began to roar 
and tear up the ground, but failed to disturb his daughter. 
When he found he could not scare her, she said, " Let me try." 
She began to roar and tear up the ground, as he had done, and 
soon killed him. If she had not done so, he would have gone 
on killing people till to-day. After she had killed the old 
man, she went away and married Flute-Player. 

20. Huptoli.^ 

A long time ago there was a burning at Oregon Creek. 
Some of the people went down to the river, and found there a 
one-legged man called Huptoli, who lived in the water. 
They caught him, and carried him up to the top of the hill, 
and laid him down while all rested. Huptoli, however, 
jumped up and bounced back to the river. He was never 
seen again. All the people who had caught him at once fell 
asleep, and did not wake up for over two days, and then only 
because the doctors woke them. These one-legged people 
come even now occasionally and take washing away from the 
women at the river. 

21. Big-Belly's Son." 

Big-Belly lived at Ta'smam. He had a wife, and a son 
who went off hunting in the mountains and staid away a long 
time. Big-Belly could not walk on account of his great size, 
and so his wife went out every day to gather clover for them 
both. She would go out in the morning, bring in a big basket 
full of clover, set it down by the old man, and then take 
another basket and go out again. The old man was eating 
all the time. One morning she went out and came back 

• Told at Mooretown. * Told at Genesee. 

1902.] Dixon, Maidii Myths. 103 

early. She said, "I see something coming that looks like 
people." Big-Belly replied, "At this time of year it is always 
that way. A person thinks that he sees people. Whenever 
any one sees the wind blowing the grass, he thinks that 
people are coming." The woman went out again, saw the 
people coming, saw them plainly and very near. She ran 
back to the house and told her husband, "Some people are 
after us. I see them." Then the old man said, "Well, help 
me up, and we will run away." When he had said this, she 
tried to get him out, but the people got there before she 
succeeded. These people were Ko'mbo people from Mill 
Creek. When they came near, they began to shoot at the 
old man, and filled his belly full of arrows and killed him. 
They killed the woman too, and then went off home. 

By and by the son came back from his hunting. The 
woman had been with child before she was killed. When the 
son found that she was dead, he felt of her, felt something 
move, something that was warm. So he cut the woman open, 
found the child, took it out, and saw that it was a girl. He 
made a cradle-board, put the baby on it, and wrapped it up. 
Then he began to cry. He cried a long time, then took the 
child with him far off into the mountains where he had been 
hunting. He would take deer-liver, pound it up fine, mix it 
with water, and give it to the child. After a few days the 
child grew rapidly, and soon the man could leave cooked 
meat with the child, which she would eat when hungry, 
while he went oft' to hunt. He would be gone all day, and 
not get back till night. One day he came back and heard the 
child crying. When he reached home, he saw that Old-Frog- 
Woman was there, and that she was holding the child in her 
arms, and was dancing with it. The child was nearly dead. 
The man said nothing, but took the child away, went for 
water, washed the child's face, and gave it something to eat. 
After supper he went to sleep without speaking to Frog- 
Woman. She was sitting there, and said, "The child was 
afraid of me. She did not know me, that is why she cried." 
In the morning when the man woke up. Frog- Woman was 
gone. The man tried to feed the child, but it kept looking at 

I04 Bulletin American .Vuseum of Natural History. [Vol. XVII, 

him and crying. He thought something was the trouble. 
He found that while he had been asleep, Frog- Woman had 
taken off his scalp, and he had not known it. He only found 
it out by the fact that his sister was all the time looking at 
him; and then his head began to itch, and when he put up 
his hand to scratch it, he found his head was all over blood. 
He said to the child, " Stop crying. The old woman took my 
scalp. I am 3'our brother. Don't be afraid of me. It is 
because she took my scalp that I look different." Then the 
child stopped crying. Next morning he began to carry a lot 
of wood, and pile it up near the house. Then he began to 
cook meat, pounding it up fine for the child. Then he said, 
"I am going away. You must stay here." Then he wrapped 
the child up carefully, and said, "You must stay here. If I 
am away long, untie yourself." Then he built a big fire of 
oak-wood, with lots of coals, and covered it over with plenty 
of earth. Finally he stuck up his scratching-stick overhead, 
and said, " When you see that stick drop in front of you, you 
will know that I am killed. If it drops, take it, and make a 
hole in the coals with it, then crawl in and burn yourself." 
Then he went out, found a lot of moss, and made a wig so 
that he looked like a woman. He took an old basket that 
had been his mother's, put it on his back, and made an apron 
and put it on. Then he went off. 

There was another country far off to the west, whence Old- 
Frog- Woman had come. She had carried off the man's 
scalp to that country; and when he reached there, the people 
were having a dance around it. Before he came to that 
place, however, he gathered a lot of roots, pounded them up 
fine, and made himself look like a woman. He had a cane; 
and when he reached the place where the people were dancing 
about his scalp, he acted like an old woman who was very 
feeble. He slipped his apron around to one side, so that 
people could see that he was a woman. He went up to some 
of the women, and sat down. They looked at him, and said, 
"Poor old woman! where did you come from?" Then they 
looked again, and saw that she had hardly any apron on. 
They said, "Hasn't some one an apron to give her?" So 

1902.] Dixon, Maidu Afyt/is. 105 

they gave her a new apron, and were wondering who she was 
and where she came from. Every one came to look at her to 
see if she were playing some trick. Some said, "Yes, she is 
an old woman. We have seen her before." One person said, 
"No, she does not belong here;" but the others did not pay 
any attention to what this person said. While he sat there, 
the man looked around, and saw his scalp tied to the top of a 
tall pole. Towards morning the people grew tired, and went 
to sleep. When they were all asleep, the man got up, climbed 
up the pole, got his scalp, came down, and started off for his 
home. When he reached there, he found his sister still alive. 
He said to his scratching-stick, " Let me see you fall. Let me 
see what you would have done if I had been killed." He had 
not yet shown himself to his sister. He was outside, and 
wanted to see what she would do if the stick fell. In a mo- 
ment the stick fell, and the child saw it. She was eating, 
but stopped, and began to unwrap herself. When she was 
unwrapped, she took the stick, and began to dig a hole in. the 
coals. Then the man came in and said, "Sister, what are 
you doing? Why are you digging out the coals?" Then he 
told her about himself, and they lived there always. 

22. A'loiiutaiii-Lioii and his Wives.'- 

Mountain-Lion lived at Xa'kan se'wi. He went out hunt- 
ing, came home, and lay on the ground, playing a flute. By 
and by two girls came in and sat down on each side of him. 
He got up, cooked some meat for them, and gave it to them. 
They ate it, and went to sleep for the night as his wives. He 
said, "This is the way we marry. If we sleep together, and 
find ourselves here in the morning, we shall be married." 
After a while he had a child by each wife. Soon the children 
began to creep about, and get outside the camp. A short 
distance off they found two good-looking girls. Next day 
the father went off, and did not come back that night. When 
he came back the day after, he had killed some deer. The 
two children found their father the next evening with the two 

' Told at Genesee. 

lo6 Bulletin American Museum of Xaiural History. [Vol. XVII, 

girls they had found. He said, "People can leave their 
wives and children, and get others. That is how it will be in 
this world." The first two wives still staid in their camp, 
and paid no attention to what Mountain- Lion had done. He 
never went back to his first wives, but went off hunting, and 
at night lay playing on his flute. The first wives and the two 
children had now eaten up all the food that Lion had brought 
before he left them. The children were now able to run about. 
Every time Lion would come back from hunting, they would 
go over to his camp, thinking to get some meat. They would 
watch their father skinning the deer, to see if he would give 
them any. Lion would cut out the place where the arrow 
had entered, and where the blood had settled, and give this 
poor piece to the children. He would throw it at them, and 
it would stick to them. They would pick it off, and run with 
it to their mothers. The children would think that they were 
getting a great thing, but the mothers would cry about it ; but 
they would cook it and eat it to keep from starving. When- 
ever Lion would come home with meat, the children would 
cry out, "Here comes father with meat!" then they would 
run over to get what he gave them. One day the mothers 
said to themselves, " How can we make a living if the children 
do not go to their father? " One said, " He is not treating our 
children rightly," Then she cried. One said, " Do you know 
of any place where Lion ever lost a piece of flint? If we could 
find a piece of flint, we could make an arrow for the children, 
and teach them to shoot, and by and by they could kill their 
own game." 

One day the children asked their mothers, " How is it that 
father makes such pretty music with his flute?" Whenever 
they spoke of Lion as their father, it made the women cry. 
One said, " Let us go and make flutes. If they get to playing 
on them, they may forget about their father," In the morn- 
ing early they went off to make the flutes. When they were 
finished, they put them away in the house where they could 
not be seen. After a while the father came home, and began 
to play on his flute. The children went up on the top of the 
house, and listened to the music. The mothers said, "When 

1902.] Dixon, Maidu My//ts. 107 

it gets daylight, we will go off before the children know it, and 
make them some bows and arrows. When we get them 
made, we will show them to the children." They felt sorry 
for the children, who were as if they had no father, yet all the 
time they had one. When the children came in from playing 
the mothers gave them the flutes, and told them that that was 
what their father was playing on. They said, " Do as your 
father does. Blow in the flute, and learn to play." The 
children tried, almost succeeded, but failed. Then they went 
to sleep, and the women went off to make the bows and 
arrows. When the children got up, they went out on the 
side-hill, and saw a deer-track. They came home and told 
their mothers that they had seen a deer's track, and showed 
them how it looked, making similar tracks with their fingers. 
They said to the women, "That is the kind of foot the deer 
have that father kills. If we had bows and arrows, we could 
kill them too. If you will make us some bows and arrows, 
we will go hunting to-morrow." When they had said this, 
the mothers gave the children the bows and arrows they had 
made, and said, "Here is what your father uses to kill deer. 
He gets close up before he shoots. Don't go far away. It is 
a bad country, and you might get killed." When the children 
had gone, the mothers cried. 

The two children had not gone far, before they came to a 
fawn's track. The younger said, "I'll look out for the trail, 
and do you watch for the deer." The younger of the children 
was the smarter. He said to the other, "When you see the 
deer, you had better let me shoot, for fear you might miss it." 
They followed the trail for a time, and then, looking across a 
canyon, they saw a fawn lying there asleep. The older child 
crept up, got close to it, shot it, and killed it. The children 
left it lying there, and went back and told their mothers. 
Then they all went back; and the mothers skinned the fawn, 
and cut it up, and brought it back to the camp, keeping the 
meat for the two children. The women were cleaning up 
the camp one day after this, and found a piece of flint which 
Lion had forgotten. By this time the two boys had learned 
to play the flute nearly as well as their father. From the 

loS Bulletin American Museum of Natural History. [Vol. X\"II, 

flint the women made some large arrows, and gave them to 
the children. They went out, and with these arrows next 
day killed a bigger deer than before. This time they brought 
it home themselves. They said to each other, "Even if our 
father has left us, we can kill deer, and keep our mothers 
alive." The third time they went hunting, they went on and 
on till they reached a large mountain, where they separated. 
The younger said to the older, " If you go back down the ridge, 
kick the pine-needles about, so that I shall know that you 
have gone that way." Then they separated, and the younger 
killed a deer. He brought it back to where they had sepa- 
rated, and saw the pine-needles kicked about; and when he 
got home, he found that the other brother had also killed a 
deer. The mothers were ver}- glad. When the two children 
came back, they began to play on their flutes, and now were 
able to play better than their father. 

The next day they went out again, and sat on the top of a 
high mountain, to rest and look out over the country. Said 
one, "This is the mountain where father kills his deer, I think. 
I think we will do the same on the same mountain." The 
younger said, "When father kills a big deer, he always man- 
ages to get it home by the time the sun sets over the mountain. 
If you come to a big deer's track, follow it, and I will do the 
same. Don't pay any attention to me, I'll get home some 
time." The younger followed a deer, killed it, and, although 
it was a big one, he got home with it just at sundown. He 
brought it home at the time he said he would. The boys now 
saw that their father had a black bear's skin to sit on, and 
said to each other, " I wonder if we could not kill one of those 
animals too." So they went oft" to the west, as usual, to the 
same mountain. The 3'ounger said, "Our mothers' deer-skin 
blankets are nearly worn out. I wonder if we can't kill 
something to make a new pair." The other said, "We will 
kill deer again to-day, and carry them home, and think about 
the other things." That night Lion brought home a deer, 
and stood by his camp watching the two boys as they brought 
in their game. He had never done this before. Next day 
the younger said, " If we go off to-day, let us go another way: 

1902.] Dixon, Maidu Myths. IO9 

let us go to the north, and try to get something for blankets." 
When they had gone about halfway up a large mountain, they 
stopped for a rest. The younger said, " Let us go down to the 
Padi'tim Ya'manmanto. Do you keep above, and I will 
go along lower down. We will keep the same distance apart. 
We shall get home some time." Each killed a black bear, and 
carried it home. 

Lion was much interested in what the boys did now. He 
was watching them as they came back. That same night he 
came to their camp, sat down by the door, and lighted his 
pipe. He said, " If a man leaves his wife, after a while he can 
come back to her. That is what people will say about it by 
and by." Then he said to the boys, "In the morning you 
can go hunting. There are plenty of deer in the hills." 
They went off to the south, and Lion followed. AVhen they 
reached the top of a mountain, he said, "There is a little valley 
down there." Then they all started for the valley; but be- 
fore they got there, they stopped for a rest, and Lion took a 
smoke. When they got to the edge of the valley. Lion said, 
"Stop and look to see how many bears there are, and where 
they are." The two boys did so, and saw that the valley 
was full of bears. Lion said, "You two stay here, where 
there is an opening, and I will go down and scare the bears 
up." So the two staid there, while Lion went down into the 
valley. When he got there, the bears started to run the 
wrong way. Two bears began to chase him, and he ran back 
toward the boys, he ran between them; and when the bears 
came, the boys shot them, but did not kill them. The 
bears began to chase them, so they separated and ran all 
round the world. When they got to the end, they met, but 
kept on again till they came to the place where they started. 
W^hen the two boys left, chased by the bears. Lion went back 
to the camp of his first wives. When the boys got back to 
the place they had started from, the bears came too, and 
fought each other. Each had been chasing one of the boys. 
They fought, and finally killed each other. Then the boys 
skinned them, and took the hides home. They staid there, 
and Lion staid there too. 


1. Creation Mytli. 

In the beginning all was water. Turtle and Pehe'ipe float on it 
on a raft. Earth-Initiate comes down from the sky to the raft. 
Turtle dives and brings up mud from bottom. Of this, Earth- 
Initiate makes world. He calls Sun and Moon to rise, and makes 
the stars. Coyote and Rattlesnake come up out of the ground. 
Earth-Initiate makes animals; makes people out of earth, and vivifies 
them by sleeping and sweating beside them. Coyote attempts to 
imitate, but fails to make satisfactory people. Earth-Initiate wants 
people to live without work, and to be restored to life and youth in 
lake. Coyote wishes the opposite, and prevails. Earth-Initiate 
leaves the world and goes above. Coyote tells people to prepare 
for a "burning." In the races before the ceremony, Coyote's son 
is bitten by Rattlesnake and killed. Coj^ote in vain tries to get 
revoked his decision that men should die. Soon after this every 
couple suddenly speak a different language. Ku'ksu, the first man, 
talks all these languages, and gives to each couple the names for 
things, their laws, etc.; sends them to their homes. Then Ku'ksu, 
and his wife Morning-Star, go away. Coyote follows; finds Ku'ksu 
in spirit cave with Coyote's son; not allowed to enter or eat. Coyote 
returns home, kills himself, and goes back to cave; finds Ku'ksu and 
all gone above. Coyote goes oft" to the west. 

2. Earili-Namer. 

Coj'ote and Earth-Namer quarrel as to whether man" shall have 
an easy and deathless life. Coyote prevails, and declares that man 
must work and die. Earth-Namer goes off angry. Coyote's son is 
killed by Rattlesnake. Coyote overtakes Earth-Namer, and tries in 
vain to have his own decision repealed. Earth-Namer travels over 
country, ridding it of evil beings; instructs Mink how to kill a great 
snake, and with its fat to kill the women who trj'' to kill travellers 
by urinating on them; sharpens the bill of Crow, and causes Fish- 
Hawk to choke; escapes from and kills the two boys who kill persons 
while ferrying them across streani; kills their grandmother as well; 
scatters roots for people to eat; is chased by Grisly-Bear, who causes 
conflagration, from which Earth-Namer escapes by hiding under 
grass-roots; goes off far to east, and lives there yet. 


1902.] Dixon, Maidu Myths. I I I 

J. The Conqueror. 

Two old men live with their people in a large sweat-house. Many 
people are killed by a great bird when hunting, others by rattle- 
snakes when shooting ground-squirrels. Wood-Bugs kill many by 
dancing against people and knocking them about; others are killed 
by Man-Straightening-Old-Woman, who crushes them with a great 
rock; still others die as result of following trail of Elk. All the 
people that are left go with the old men to gamble. Some are killed 
in trying to swim river at certain spot; others fall and are killed 
on ice floor of house of host; others are killed by not being able to 
drink all the soup offered them. The two old men alone escape, 
and return to their daughter, whom they left at home. Datightcr 
meets Cloud-Man, who marries her; gives her two bunches of feathers, 
which shall become boys. She puts them away. The boys. Always- 
eating and Conciueror, come out and surprise old men. They grow up 
rapidly. Conqueror overcomes all the beings who killed the people 
formerly; goes with the old men to gamble, as before; finds opponent 
has passage through his body, and thus cheats. Conqueror, with help 
of Sun, closes this passage, and opens one in his own body, thus 
winning all his people back, as well as all of his opponents. He then 
returns home with old men. 

4. Ku'tsein ye'poni. 

Old woman and man live together. She puts bead in basket, and 
this develops into a boy. He grows rapidly; shows great power and 
skill; kills bear which he thinks is a gopher; kills poisonous insects 
that try to overpower him; kills woodpeckers in a row on branch; 
kills Elk by aid of two magic arrows, with help and advice of hand- 
ful of earth; meets Coyote and gives him food. Latter returns 
again and again in different guises to get more; finally is given yellow- 
jackets in the food, and is killed. Kii'tsein ye'poni goes with his 
grandfather to gamble with Old- North- Wind. Floor of house is of 
slippery snake-skin. Beginning to lose, he finds that opponent has 
passage through body. He closes this, and opens one in his own 
body, and thus wins. Kills the Man-Straightening-Old- Woman. 

5. Search for Fire. 

People formerly had fire, but it was stolen and carried off by 
Thunder. Deprived of fire, people cooked by having red-eyed bird 
look at meat. Lizard one day sees smoke of real fire, tells people, 
and all set out to get it. Arrived at house of Thunder, Mouse steals 

I I - Bulletin American MiiSiUm of Natural History. [Vol. XVII, 

past the watcher, who is asleep, and enters house through smoke- 
hole; cuts strings of the skirts of Thunder's daughters; fills flute 
with fire, and escapes. All people run. Dog carries some fire in ear; 
deer on hock. Thunder and daughters pursvie, with wind, rain, and 
hail. Skunk shoots Thimder, and daughters turn back. People get 
safelj- home. 

6. Thunder and his Daughter. 

Older of two brothers follows Thunder's daughter, who lures him 
away. He shoots an-ow ahead of her, and secures it from her 
pack-basket unharmed; passes through a field of rose-bushes with 
aid of flint, which cuts path for him; follows her through field of 
rattlesnakes, which he passes by aid of red-hot stone moccasins; 
camps and sleeps with her, cutting off the rattlesnake-teeth that sur- 
round her vagina; crosses frozen lake by aid of red-hot stone mocca- 
sins; fords deep river with help of duck-feather; escapes by aid of same 
from Valley-of-Death-by-Old-Age; enters house of Thunder; sur\-ives 
poisoned food; breaks pitch-log for fire-wood; spears great fish that 
nearly pulls him under water; is aided by the water-ousels; goes to 
hunt deer, but finds grisly bears; escapes from these to swaying ice- 
tree. Bear stays below to kill him. He shoots bear in only vul- 
nerable spot, the left hind-foot; retiims to Thunder's house, takes 
daughter, and goes home. 

7. The Loon-Wotnan. 

Loon and Eagle live with many brothers in great sweat-house. 
Loon falls in love with Wood-Bug, one of her brothers. She calls 
him to come out of house, but all others are sent first. She attempts 
to burn house by magic. Wood-Bug at last comes, and is carried oft" 
by Loon. Loon tries to make Wood-Bug her husband, but by a ruse 
he escapes and rejoins people at hovise. Spider makes a net and car- 
ries all others up to sky, away from burning house. Lizard is at 
bottom of net. He makes a hole to peep through, and net tears, 
letting all fall down into burning house. Their hearts burst and fly 
out. Loon tries to catch them in a scoop, but misses many. She 
finally goes off, wearing all she catches as a necklace. Eagle alone 
was not in net, and so escapes. She finds Loon on the lake and with 
water-ousels, shoots Loon and kills her; throws hearts into water, and 
thus restores brothers to life. Two hearts are missing, Wood-Bug 
and Fisher. Two girls find these far away, embedded in ground. 
Their tears have made a salt-lick. The girls carry hearts home, re- 
store them to life, and marry the men. Eagle goes back to where all 
lived before. 

1902.] Dixon, Maidn Myths. II3 

8. Sun and Moon. 

1. Sun lives in north; steals children of Frog. Frog is pursued. 
Sun catises patch of Avillows to grow, that Frog stops to pick. Frog 
finally catches up to Sun just as latter enters ice-house. Frog gets 
to smoke-hole, and, when Stm comes out, swallows her. Sun swells 
and bursts Frog. Sun and brother then dispute as to which shall 
travel by night. Sun tries it, but stars fall in love with her: so 
brother travels by night, and Sun goes by day. 

2. Sun and Moon are sister and brother; live in stone house far 
to east; do not rise at first. Many animals go to try to make 
them rise. All fail. Finally Angle-Worm and Gopher go. Former 
bores tiny hole down outside, and then up into house. Gopher follows 
with bag of fleas; sets fleas free. Sun and Moon are badly bitten; 
cannot stand it, and run out. Stm is afraid to travel by night; so 
brother goes at night, and she goes by day. 

g. Bear and Deer. 

1. Bear and Deer live together. Bear kills Deer; and children 
of Deer, in revenge, suffocate Bear's children in sweat-bath. Deer 
rtm away. Bear finds her children dead; calls the Deer, but they 
have shot berries about, which answer for them. Bear is misled by 
this, but finally finds trail, and pursues. Deer get on a rock that 
stretches till very tall. Bear asks how to get up. They tell her to 
open mouth and shut eyes. Bear does so, and children throw hot 
rock into mouth and kill her. Deer run farther; are helped across river 
on leg of Shitepoke. Bear comes to, and asks to be allowed to cross 
in saine way, is thrown off in mid-stream, and drowned. 

2. Deer and Bear are neighbors. Bear kills Deer while pretending 
to louse her. Children learn of this through life-token. They kill 
Bear's children in revenge, throw berries about, and run away. Bear 
comes home; finds her children dead; calls Deer's children, but 
berries answer for them. Bear finally finds the trail, and pursues. 
Deer get on rock that stretches. Bear tries to climb, but is killed by 
hot rock dropped into mouth. 

3. Bear kills Deer while pretending to louse her. Deer children 
find this out, kill Bear's child in revenge, and escape to tall rock; 
cross stream, and kill Bear by throwing hot rock into mouth as she 
swims across. The two children are then taken up into sky by 
Spider; find their mother there, but she is drowned while getting 
water for them. 

10. Coyote Tales. 

I. Porcupine kills Elk, but has no knife to skin him with. Coyote 
offers to lend him his for a quarter of the Elk. When Elk is skinned, 
[^inie, igo2.'\ ^ 

114 Bulletin American Museum of Xatitrixl History. [Vol XVII, 

Coyote proposes a jumping contest to see who shall have the whole; 
Porcupine refuses. Coj'^ote suggests wrestling; Porcupine refuses. 
Coyote suggests race, but Porcupine refuses, finally agrees to jump 
over body of Elk. Coyote jumps, but Porcupine causes body of 
Elk to rise, and Coyote barely gets over. Porcupine then jumps 
over easily and ■wins. Coyote, however, steals half the meat while 
Porcupine is not looking, and runs away. 

2. Coyote meets Snow- Hunter. Latter proposes that their dogs 
fight. Coyote asks advice of his excrement. The second time he is 
told he will win. The dogs therefore fight, and Coyote's small dog 
kills Snow-Hunter's large one. Coyote then fights with Snow- 
Hunter and kills him. 

3. Coyote hears some one call, and answers against his grand- 
mother's wish. The caller comes near, and Coyote buries his grand- 
mother to prevent any harm coming to her; asks advice of his 
excrement, and is told the second time that he will overcome the 
stranger; must cover his belly with pitch. The stranger proves to 
be Snow-Hunter. He proposes that each cut off and eat the fat 
from the other's entrails. Coyote agrees. Snow-Hunter cuts off the 
pitch from Coyote, thinking it fat. He eats it. Coyote then pretends 
to cut oft' fat from Snow-Hunter, but rips him open and kills him; 
digs up his grandmother, and both continue to live as before. 

4. People want to kill all the Coyotes; kill all but one, and then 
catch him, and put him in a split tree. Tree is hollow, and 
Coyote is not killed. Woodpecker makes small hole in tree. Coyote 
asks excrement how to get out, and is told, the second time, that he 
must transform himself into mist, and pass out of the hole. He does 
so, returning to his natviral shape afterwards. He is again caught by 
the people, and this time put on an island in a great lake far to the 
west. He asks advice, as usual, and is told to walk to land on the 
fog as it rises in the morning. He does so, and returns to former 
home; declares he cannot be killed, that he will come to life where- 
ever he has urinated. People give up trying to kill him. 

5. Coyote meets a man fishing; asks for some fish; is told to go 
upstream and build fire; returns for fish, but is told, to go higher up 
and build fire. This is repeated several times. Coyote gets angry, and 
jumps at the man, who turns, and Coyote lands on bag of fish-hooks 
that catch his feet. He tears himself loose and runs away. 

6. Coyote marries Deer. She grows lazy and makes Coyote 
fetch water. He gets angry, and throws his wife out of smoke-hole. 
She returns to her father, but her robe is caught on smoke-hole. 
Coyote calls to her; gets no reply; gives robe a pull, thinking to pull 
wife into fire; falls over himself into fire, and is bunied. 

7. Coyote transforms himself into a woman, and asks many 
women to a feast at his house. While all are asleep, Coyote returns 
to his regular form, cohabits with the women, and nins away. The 

1902.] Dixon, Maidu Myths. I15 

women wake in the morning to find house has disappeared, and that 
all have children. 

8. Coyote hears a woman singing, and follows the sound; spends 
night in hollow tree, which closes. Woodpecker makes small hole, 
but is scared away by Coyote, who cannot keep still; asks advice of 
his excrement, and is told as usual. He follows advice, and turns 
himself into a fog, thus passing out of the small hole; follows the song 
he hears, and finds woman at last on an island in the Sacramento 
Valley. He cannot reach her, so comes home. 

9. Coyote asks Humming-Birds how he may be able to fly as 
they do. By their advice he climbs tree, and jumps off, but is dashed 
to pieces before he can say the necessaiy charm. Crows begin to 
eat his eyes, and he comes to. He eats crickets, but they escape 
through a rent in his body, which has completely dried up. 

10. Animals go in search of fire, and run off with it. Coyote gets 
chance to carry it, although he has been sent away to be out of mis- 
chief. He drops it, and a general conflagration ensues. Coyote asks 
rocks, lakes, and trees for aid, but all either bum or grow hot. He 
cannot wait longer, so crawls into hollow tree, and is burned up. 

11. Coyote makes fun of his sister-in-law. Bear. She gets angry, 
and bites him. He cannot be killed as long as the little finger of his 
right hand is intact. When Bear begins to bite that. Coyote kills 
her; tells his wife that Bear died naturally. At the "burning" 
Coyote gets into a quarrel with the Bears, and is killed. 

12. Coyote wants to be as black as Blackbirds. The latter tell 
him he can become so by getting into a hole where hot fire has been 
kept. He does so, they cover him up, and he is roasted to death. 

13. Coyote desires a fine shell like Turtle's. He is told to fall 
from a high tree on to flint arrow-points set up in the ground beneath. 
He does so, and is killed. 

14. Coyote tries to imitate a leaf floating in air. He climbs high 
tree, jumps off, and is killed. 

15. Coyote sees Frogs diving; tries to imitate them, strikes his 
head on a stone under water, and is killed. 

16. Coyote arranges a race to determine where the different people 
shall live. The winners are to have the valleys, the vanquished must 
take the hills. After the race all people are to be animals. Jack- 
Rabbit wins, and therefore lives in the valleys, while all the other 
animals live in the hills. 

II. Fish-Hawk and the iiuo Deer-Ticks. 

Two Deer- Ticks live with their brother, Fish-Hawk. He gives 
them only the poorest food, and finally none at all. The Deer-Ticks 
decide to try to help themselves. They get a piece of flint; watch a 

1 I 6 Bulletin American Museum of Natural History. [Vol. XVII, 

deer-trail, and persuade a deer to carrj' them with him on his neck. 
They then cut the deer's throat and kill it. Fish-Hawk's wife helps 
them carr)' meat home, and feeds them with it secretl5^ Fish- 
Hawk discovers this, and snatches away the last morsel. He then 
becomes Fish-Hawk, and the two brothers become Deer-Ticks. 

12. The To'loiviiii ]Vo»!aii and ihe Butterfly-Man. 

A woman goes out with her child to gather food; sees a butterfly, 
and chases it; leaves child behind, and forgets about it; chases 
Butterfly-Man, who marries her. They pass through valley in which 
are many other Butterfly-Men, and woman lets go her husband and 
tries to catch another. She fails, and goes crazy. She dies in the 
valley without being able to get ov;t. 

13. Mountain-Lion, Robin, and Frog-Woman. 

Mountain-Lion marries Robin. They separate, and each goes home 
alone. Robin is swallowed by Frog, who takes Robin's child and 
goes to Lion's home. Latter suspects that all is not right; refuses to 
have anything to do with his wife; sets her to roasting grain over hot 
fire, till she is killed; cuts her open and finds Robin inside; restores 
her to life by placing her in lake over night. 

14. The Cannibal-Head. 

Man dreams he ate himself up; goes out to pick pine-nuts. Son 
throws one down and wounds man. He licks oft" blood, likes the 
taste, and eats himself all but head and shoulders. He then goes 
bouncing about, trying to kill people. He finally bounces into the 
river, and is not seen any more. 

75. The Stolen Brotlier. 

One of two brothers is stolen by a great bird. The other brother 
learns from the Moon where the missing one is. With help of Lark, 
Eagle, and Bald-Eagle, he goes to the place where his brother is. 
Lark kills the abductor, and the two eagles bring back the two brothers. 

16. Lizard and Grisly-Bear. 

Grisly-Bear had killed all people but Lizard and his grandmother. 
Lizard sees Bear dancing in the vallcv, and calls him names. Bear 

1902.] Dixon, Maid It Myths. I 1/ 

hears, and hunts for Lizard; finds him finally, and tells him he will 
have to be killed. Lizard, however, jumps down Bear's throat with- 
out being harmed, and cuts him to pieces inside with a flint which 
he had concealed. 

77. Skunk and Beetle. 

Skunk and Beetle go to get reeds for arrows. They are attacked 
by enemies. Beetle exliausts his supply of bad odor by shooting at 
them. Skunk then shoots and kills all. 

18. Wolf makes the Snow Cold. 

Wolf and his grandchildren live in large hotise. The children 
disturb him by playing and shouting in the snow. He goes outside, 
and urinates on the snow, which is thus made cold. The children then 
get their hands and feet cold, and do not play and shout as before. 

ig). Thunder and his Daughter. 

Thunder's daughter wants to marry Flute-Player. Thunder for- 
bids her. She goes to meet Flute-Player, however. Thunder gets 
angry, btit in contest of power is overcome by his datighter. She 
kills him, and marries Flute- Player. 

20. Huptoli. 

A one-legged being was once fovmd in the river. Carried up to the 
top of the hill, he jumps back to the river in one jump, and is not 
seen again. All the people fall into deep sleep, and are awakened 
only by the shaman. 

21. Big-Belly's Son. 

Big-Belly and wife are killed by enemy, who surprise them. Son 
comes home from hunt, and finds parents dead; cuts out girl from 
body of mother, and takes it oft" with him to mountains; feeds it on 
pounded meat, and it grows rapidly; finds Frog-Woman at his house 
one day on returning from hunt. She scalps him in night, and runs 
away. He collects wood and builds a great fire; leaves food with 
baby-sister, and tells her to bum herself if life-token he leaves with 
her should fall. He goes off to the country of the Frog- Woman to 
get back his scalp ; makes himself look like a woman ; finds the place 

I 1 8 Bulletin American Museum of Natural History. [Vol. XVII. 

where the people are dancing about his scalp. At night he steals 
it, and returns home; finds his sister alive. To see whether she 
would have carried out his orders, he tells the life-token to fall. It 
does so, and the child prepares to bum herself. Brother stops her in 
time. They live together as before. 

22. M oimiain-hion and his W-ives. 

Mountain-Lion marries two women, and has a child b}^ each. 
Deserts them for two other women. Children and mothers nearly 
starA'e. Mothers make flutes for children, and also bows and arrows. 
The children learn to kill deer, and play on the flute. They gradiially 
become expert at both. Their father begins to get interested in them, 
watches them. Finally he returns to his first wives, and he and the 
children go hunting together. 

LB D '04 



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